The present lot, Supper's Conductor, was featured in Indonesian artist, Christine Ay Tjoe's 2007 solo exhibition, Silent Supper. The artist's thematic interest for the exhibition derives from her long-standing observation on the nature of eating and sustenance. Trained in graphic art at the Bandung Institute of Technology, the Bandung-born artist combines a number of distinct medium and techniques in Supper's Conductor to further her personal inquiry in the sociological and philosophical nature of eating in her art practice.
Curator Jim Supangkat explains that Christine does not relate eating "merely to the physical world: to life, to joyousness during feasts, & to the fear of death. She senses that such activity of eating - which truly happens in life - is ineffective." (Jim Supangkat, The Silent World in Ay Tjoe Christine's Silent Supper, solo exhibition catalogue, Ark Galerie, Jakarta, 2007, p. 15). For Christine, eating, as a necessary function in human life involving processes in the digestive system, has a definite scientific character parallel to but also distinct from its sociological manifestations - feasting, binge-eating, dieting etc. She believes in the effective processing of food. In plants, she finds a model of efficiency - "Plants do not eat like we do, but they are not dying" (Ibid.). Plants eat when night falls, when all is still; they use the energy acquired in the day to process food, forming the energy required for sustenance and growth.
In the present lot, Supper's Conductor, Christine Ay Tjoe re-articulates this observation in her depiction of a doll fed intravenously. The picture surface is characterised by linework that is highly personal - a combination of fine but firm line work combined with decisively applied patches of acrylic paint. In terms of technique, the work illustrates her experimentation with different medium. She productively combines previously employed visual idioms - etching linework carried from paper to canvas, acrylic painting, installations of dolls that get transposed onto flat canvas through digital photography and print. The face of the doll in Supper's Conductor is simplified and almost abstract; care is given to developing a posture of crestfallenness and dejection. The doll is in solitude, intravenously fed and far removed from joyous and gaiety filled feasting. A sense of quietude prevails.
Supper's Conductor is hence deeply personal and expressive of the individual psyche, as Jim Supangkat explains - "The enactment in Christine's works ... does not lie in the conveying of the messages. The strength of her works appears in the emotional expressions - retouched by the paint spatula - which seems to deconstruct the works' readability. The traces of the paint spatula, applied in spontaneous gestures over the existing pictures, seem to conduct a re-reading of the works. Such layers of expressions make her works become intentional representations, forcing the viewers to join her in thinking about the problems that have been bothering her" (Ibid, p. 21).