Christine Ay Tjoe - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale Hong Kong Saturday, May 27, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Born in the 1970s and achieving international recognition by the early 2000s, Christine Ay Tjoe is situated within a pivotal group of Indonesian contemporary artists such as I Nyoman Masriadi, Handiwirman Saputra, and Rudi Mantofani. Distinguishing herself from her peers not only as a female artist, but as a leading abstract artist of her generation, Christine Ay Tjoe’s works are immediately recognisable and deeply evocative. While Ay Tjoe’s works first confront the viewer with her distinctive use of overlapping lines and seemingly abstract application of colour, a closer investigation often reveals amorphous or skeletal biological forms representing her thematic preoccupations with the fragility of life, the inevitability of death, and the beauty found within the individual experience of these universal truths.

    In Small Flies and Other Wings, the deceptively inviting use of rose pink and other bright accents of colour quickly gives way to the frenetic energy of the central composition as we locate the delicate and almost translucent bodies of flies absorbed within a cacophony of colour and lines. The expressively gestural quality of Ay Tjoe’s lines draws the eye darting across the canvas until we reach an awareness of the scene as a veritable graveyard of flies amidst disjointed wings of other insects. Plunging the viewer into an immersive experience, the work provokes introspection into our own attitudes towards death by highlighting its pervasiveness, and our morbid fascination with it. Ay Tjoe affords some visual respite in the lower half of the composition where the muted background is allowed to show through, but even then the space is interrupted by smears of red and black paint – colours that are respective signifiers of life and death. Like insects drawn to a lightsource, we too approach life with a single-minded fervour, and it is this insastiable lust for life despite an awareness of death that Ay Tjoe celebrates.

Property of an Important Private Collector


Small Flies and Other Wings

signed and dated 'Christine 13' lower right; further signed, titled and dated 'ay tjoe Christine "Small Flies and Other Wings" 2013' on the reverse
oil on canvas
165.3 x 150.5 cm (65 1/8 x 59 1/4 in.)
Executed in 2013.

HK$900,000 - 1,200,000 

Sold for HK$11,720,000

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20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 28 May 2017