Ay Tjoe Christine | The Black Side: Ay Tjoe Christine


Ota Fine Arts Shanghai is delighted to present "The Black Side" a solo exhibition by Ay Tjoe Christine, one of Southeast Asia's most prominent female painters. For this exhibition, Ay Tjoe presents two new paintings together with four other paintings from her recent retrospective exhibition held at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan.

Ay Tjoe Christine first began her career working with the intaglio drypoint printmaking technique. In 2009, she started experimenting with the oil bar and continues to use it expansively today. The oil bar medium has allowed her to create expressive and gestural lines while still maintaining the 'language of drawing' on each canvas.

Ay Tjoe's paintings are layered with bold, dynamic streaks that are spontaneous, yet applied with precision. Colourful shapes and stains fill the canvas, and are created by first applying paint and then rubbing back to reveal the layer beneath. Elsewhere, colour is scratched away to reveal the underlying layer. This repetitive process accumulates in forms that often blurs the line between a figurative style and abstract expression.

Animal creatures and parts of the human body are often littered across the canvas. Their simultaneous appearance on the canvas resonates with Ay Tjoe's belief that there are dual sides to every human being, the inner beast and the outer human, the evil and kind, the vulnerable and strong. She fearlessly explores this duality of the human life either through imagined narratives or by conveying the inner emotions she had experienced in her life: pain, struggle, happiness, anger, grief, etc. Layer by layer, viewers get a glimpse into her personal and social worlds as she subtly reveals the milestones in life, political upheavals and injustices, religious journey that she has encountered.

In this exhibition, "The Black Side", Ay Tjoe focuses on the complexity of human relations and depicts the brutal sides of human emotions in society today. The dominant black strokes and dark colours in the paintings hints of her bleak outlook towards contemporary society. Whereas the towering height of "Freezing the Black 01" and the expansive width of "Freezing the Black 02" reveals a certain helplessness in the face of overwhelming sovereign power. Yet, Ay Tjoe does not 'judge' the world we live in today but instead, leaves it open to the interpretation of her viewers.

Vast amount of negative spaces are characteristic of Ay Tjoe's paintings. A perfect balance is achieved with the soft greys and beige creating fascinating harmonies with the colourful forms and shapes. This pared-back and differentiated style of painting has allowed Ay Tjoe Christine to stand out among her contemporaries within Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Ota Fine Arts Shanghai hopes that by presenting "The Black Side", viewers experience Ay Tjoe's distinctive style of painting and her innovative approach in expressing her micro and macro encounters with the world we live in.

Installation Views