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Christine Ay Tjoe (B. 1973)
Christine Ay Tjoe (B. 1973)

Barabas Lights #05

Details
Christine Ay Tjoe (B. 1973)
Barabas Lights #05
signed and dated 'Ay Tjoe Christine 2008'; titled 'Barabas Lights #05' (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
170 x 135 cm. (66 7/8 x 53 1/8 in.)
Painted in 2008
Literature
Emmitan Fine Art Gallery, Interiority of Hope - Ay Tjoe Christine, Surabaya, Indonesia, 2008 (illustrated, p. 21).
Exhibited
Surabaya, Indonesia, Emmitan Gallery, Interiority of Hope - Ay Tjoe Christine, 26 October-10 November, 2008.

Lot Essay

Christine Ay Tjoe possesses the ability to create visually striking and psychologically resonant canvases. Exorcising emotional and religious forbearance within her deeply personal artistic journeys, the artist dwells upon themes of Catholic sensibilities, figural violence and bodily consumption. The end result is manifested in startling quality upon her canvases; taking the shape of massing, barely-human figures stretching out gauzy fingertips, or abstracted gestural forms rendered primarily in scarlet, blue and earth hues. Abstinence, suffering, and metaphysical transformation are primary subjects within Ay Tjoe's artistic impulses; however, there is always a certain redemptive quality and the prospect of salvation.
This is clearly seen within the well-received 'Barabas' works from Ay Tjoe's Interiority of Hope exhibition. Inspired by the Biblical figure of Barabbas, the Jewish revolutionary who was pardoned from crucifixion in the place of Jesus in the Bible, Ay Tjoe examines the concept of salvation through another's suffering; juxtaposing the roles of hope and despair within human existence. Barabas Lights #8 (Lot 421) depicts a prone, faceless figure reaching up a grasping pair of hands, as though uplifted in prayer or clawing for a hand from above to pull him towards heaven, in the bodily ascension promised within the Bible on Judgment Day.
From a later series of works, Talking about the Stars #2 (Lot 422) bears a lighter witness to Ay Tjoe's preoccupations. Less psychologically grim than the Barabas works, it reflects Ay Tjoe's ability to present an abstract, fragmented scene that barely hints at subjective content. The fine lines contrasted against gradiated color also reminds us of Ay Tjoe's skill in drypoint etching. The artwork speaks of aspiration, upward strife and a forward-looking vision. Yet within Ay Tjoe's conflicted universe, this endeavor is tinged with complexity and the idea of obstacles to be surmounted. The careful optimism is wedged between layers of Ay Tjoe's introspection expressed through muted colors, creating a delicate pastiche composition.

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