The Arts

Christine Ay Tjoe

Christine Ay Tjoe’s rise as one of Indonesia and South-East Asia’s most prominent contemporary artists is turning the tides for the regional art industry and for female artists


Through her Rorschach-esque paintings, Christine Ay Tjoe has emerged as one of the most recognisable art figures in South-East Asia and increasingly, on the international art scene. Her works are sought after by local and international collectors.

Ay Tjoe’s painting "Small Flies and Other Wings" was sold in 2017 for the record price of US$1.5 million. In fact, between 2008 and 2018, her price index at auctions rose by 1,200 per cent, a rare feat for women in the arts given the gender pay gap.

Art critics often praise Ay Tjoe’s pieces for their delicate but thoughtful nature, which alludes to bigger human emotions. Drawing inspiration from human afflictions, her largely abstract works blend expressive lines with ethereal swathes of colour while examining, among other themes, philosophy and spirituality.

A graduate of the Bandung Institute of Technology, Ay Tjoe began her career as a graphic artist working with intaglio drypoint prints. Throughout her practice, she’s worked with many mediums. Apart from print-making, she’s created pencil and paper drawings, woodcuts, textiles and aluminum plates, with which she employed a technique similar to lithography for a 2018 exhibit.

Ay Tjoe’s oeuvre has been featured in solo exhibits in Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and Taiwan, as well as in group shows in China, the US and the UK. She lives and works in Bandung, West Java

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Did you know?

Ay Tjoe’s fascination with lines began with drawing tree roots, which she says are the basis for her depiction of the human quality.

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