Christine Ay Tjoe - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale Hong Kong Saturday, May 26, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Arndt Contemporary Art (acquired directly from the artist in 2012)
    Private Collection, Australia
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Sydney, ARNDT, MIGRATION, 27 March - 10 July 2012
    Melbourne, ARNDT, MIGRATION MELBOURNE EDITION, 30 October - 15 December 2012
    Berlin, Arndt Art Agency A3, No Image, 27 January - 7 April 2017

  • Catalogue Essay

    Internationally recognised for her visually arresting and thought-provoking pieces, Christine Ay Tjoe is one of Southeast Asia’s most prominent contemporary artists. Known for her distinctly intricate visual language, Ay Tjoe’s beautifully introspective compositions are at once loud and contemplative, drawing from a diverse range of philosophical and spiritual references that simultaneously manifest the artist’s inner turmoil while speaking to the universal nature of human emotions. Her ability to evoke a quiet strength in the delicateness of her line work is born out of her foundational training as a graphic artist. Sinuously curved or deadly straight, erratically jagged or swift and smooth, Ay Tjoe’s technical mastery of the drypoint technique allows her to imbue her lines with a character and life of their own, through merely varying the pressure applied by her wrists. These lines that grace the canvas have the power to assume abstract shapes that, while inherently distant, register as familiar to the mind of the viewer.

    The present lot, …to See the White Land, is a work exemplary of Ay Tjoe’s inspired visual lyricism, embodying some of the best qualities of Ay Tjoe’s masterworks. A mass of white hovers near the centre of the canvas, suspended in the bone-coloured backdrop of negative space. Around it, erratic eruptions ensue, of odd-shaped patches of bright colour, deceivingly inviting in flirtatious whispers of pale pinks and ochre, accented with the shouts of the artist’s signature vermillion dashes, and jolted by an aggressive swatch of magenta. So exquisitely balanced is Ay Tjoe’s palette that she tempers the cacophony of the loud colours with soothing cool greys and dusty blues.

    Though Ay Tjoe’s works are honest, intimate expressions of her personal struggles and internal thoughts, they are also able to resonate deeply with their viewers as they welcome different interpretations, precisely because of the abstract nature of the composition. Where, or what is this white land that we seek? …to See the White Land questions the intent behind our journey, for the destination is clearly in sight and within reach, but we find ourselves constantly distracted, pulling away from our true objective. An artist of Catholic upbringing, the work perhaps also calls to mind Psalm 68:14, “When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Zalmon”. The painting thus transforms into one of hope, where snow falls on the Black Mountain (Mount Zalmon) and transforms into the white land. In a display of her staggering expressivity, Ay Tjoe illustrates the commotion in a quivering, violent mass of fizzling colour, continually drawing us away from the purity and stability that the white land symbolises. Meanwhile, the white land floats undisturbed in the negative space that Ay Tjoe has left bare as a visual respite, amidst all the noise that surrounds. In contemplating varying points of calm and tension, Ay Tjoe leaves us to ponder on the philosophical, to consider our individual journeys and where we intend for them to lead us.

Property of an Important European Collector

Ο◆2 See the White Land

signed and dated 'Christine 12' lower right; further signed and dated 'ay tjoe Christine 2012' on the reverse
oil on canvas
149.8 x 124.9 cm. (58 7/8 x 49 1/8 in.)
Painted in 2012.

HK$1,900,000 - 2,900,000 

Sold for HK$5,260,000

Contact Specialist
Jonathan Crockett
Deputy Chairman, Asia and Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia
+852 2318 2023

Isaure de Viel Castel
Head of Department
+852 2318 2011

Sandy Ma
Head of Sale
+852 2318 2025

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 27 May 2018