Christine Ay Tjoe Biography

In her expressionist paintings, works on paper, and sculptures Indonesian contemporary artist Christine Ay Tjoe explores the human condition and its desires as well as the interconnectivity of humanity and nature.

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Education and Early Work

Christine Ay Tjoe studied painting at the Bandung Institute of Technology, graduating in 1997. She began her career as a graphic artist, working with intaglio dry point prints and drawing inspiration from the plant life in her surroundings. 

Drawing and Painting

Whether working on canvas or paper, drawing is integral to Christine Ay Tjoe's practice. In her 2018 interview with Studio International, the artist said that she 'will always treat every medium as paper and pencil.'

The influence of drawing is indeed evident in Ay Tjoe's paintings, which combines expressive lines of her prints and drawings with swathes of colour and watery glazes in paint. 


Ay Tjoe primarily works with earthy tones and deep reds, alluding to emotions through colour. In the oil painting Greed and Greed 1 (2016), for example, dark washes of black are tinged with green, forming the body of what could be a dragon or a hound-like monster. The creature appears to be devouring everything around it, depicted in shots of red and pieces of pale grey around it.

In her delicate works, Ay Tjoe aims to create various sensory experiences depending on how the viewer chooses to interpret the colour, form, and movement. She embraces the emergence of characters or creatures that form spontaneously in her paintings, using them as representatives for forces of authority and higher beings. Her works are a reflection of her inner thoughts and happenings in her personal life.

In Spinning in the Desert, her solo exhibition at White Cube Hong Kong in 2021, Ay Tjoe focused on blue as the colour of hope in the paintings titled Blue Cryptobiosis (2020–2021) that are 'both raw and refined, gritty and fragile' as Aaina Bhargava wrote in an article for Ocula Magazine.


Christine Ay Tjoe has exhibited internationally, with solo exhibitions including Spinning in the Desert, White Cube Hong Kong (2021); Spirituality and Allegory, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (2018); Perfect Imperfection, SongEun ArtSpace, Seoul (2015); Myriad of 'paste', Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo (2013); The Path Less Found, Michael Ku Gallery, Taipei (2012); Lama Sabakhtani club, Lawanwangi, Bandung (2010).

Selected group exhibitions include We Do Not Dream Alone, Asia Society Triennial, New York (2020); Memory Palace, White Cube, London (2018); Prudential Eye Award, ArtScience Museum, Singapore (2015); Future Pass, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art, Taichung (2012); Indonesian Eye: Fantasies and Realities, Saatchi Gallery, London (2011); Closing The Gap: Indonesian Art Today, Melbourne International Fine Art (2011); Indonesia Contemporary Drawing, National Gallery, Jakarta (2009).

Ocula | 2021

Christine Ay Tjoe
featured artworks

Always Floating In A Constant Distance by Christine Ay Tjoe contemporary artwork print
Christine Ay Tjoe Always Floating In A Constant Distance, 2019 Lithograph on Somerset Soft White 300gsm paper
49.7 x 39 cm
White Cube Contact Gallery

Christine Ay Tjoe
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White Cube contemporary art gallery in Bermondsey, London, United Kingdom
White Cube Hong Kong, London, New York, Seoul, Paris

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