Whimsical and complex, Perjalanan Kerumah Bapa
(Journey to Father’s Home) appears to manifest a sublime balance between chaos and serenity, or discordance and harmony. The evocative work by Bandung-born artist Christine Ay Tjoe confronts the viewer with an abstraction of amorphous, rectangular-like shapes delineated by confident line work and strokes of muted brushwork. An arresting piece of contemplative quality, it is both commanding yet delicate, with its translucent, almost glassy washes of blue-grey hues. One of the earlier works from the artist’s ever-changing oeuvre, Perjalanan Kerumah Bapa
is an alluring example of the Ay Tjoe’s lexicon of lyrical abstraction and sophisticated balance between positive and negative space.
Trained in graphic design and printmaking at the Bandung Institute of Technology, Ay Tjoe’s early experiments into dry point technique and etching allowed her to perfect her skill in illustrating delicate lines. In the present lot, lines form rectangular windows that envelop around diluted glazes of color that would otherwise appear as floating structures roaming the canvas freely. The shapes appear to build upon themselves, flirtatiously layering and hoisting atop one another. This is manifested as the core of the painting, where shaky lines are executed with darker, firmer strokes - emanating a frenzied energy that thoroughly mesmerizes the viewer. The work oscillates between a feeling of urgency and tranquillity, generating a sense of wistfulness - perhaps about the arduous journey that is the one to her father’s home.
Yet, upon closer investigation, a palpable sense of dissonance is observed, as charred edges with a spectral quality are aggravated by trails of paint and sepia stains, giving the impression of demolition; of a voyage ridden with urban decay. Masterfully rendered, the expressive lines dance with vitality; at times, appearing fluid and tranquil and at other times, bold and erratic. The finesse of Ay Tjoe’s strokes expressed with the nuanced pressures of her hand is evidence of an artist working with vigor and intuition.
Perjalanan Kerumah Bapa is a superlative painting that showcases the unfolding of an artist’s deepest and most personal revelations. Her works convey courage of emotional expression and are an explorative experience of the rises and pitfalls of the human condition; of philosophy and spirituality, submersing their viewers in a visually seductive game of hide-and-seek.