Christine Ay Tjoe, White Cube ‘Beauty and Violence’


Inside the North Gallery at White Cube Bermondsey is a display of new work from Indonesian artist, Christine Ay Tjoe. And these are works that hit you with their beauty – and their violence.

At first glance these are random explosion of marks and colour, all form obliterated and absent. Maybe you would even describe them as superficially beautiful. But on closer inspection, these are very intense works, brim-full of emotion, evident through the aggressive marks and dark, brooding colours. These works are dark, intense and remarkably forceful.

Christine Ay Tjoe 1

The canvases are large – and some of them are largely bare. But the marks and the colours come as a result of the emotions and themes Christine is exploring – explosions of red burst free from masses of greys, the canvases marked with sharp strikes of brown and black. There is such an interesting blend of chaos and purpose in these works – the paintings may lack form, but they don’t lack in direction.

And with titles such Greed and Greed, Demonic Possession and Greedy Element, it’s clear these are works that look to examine powerful feelings and deep psychological fears, as well as clearly contemporary themes such as insatiable consumerism and the relentless march of competition and capitalism.

Christine Ay Tjoe 3

As Christine herself observes, “My interest point is human beings. In my works, I talk more about what will happen in terms of human trends – local or global – what I see as possibilities in my mind, personal ideas.”

Christine is one of the most acclaimed Indonesian artists and her work has been widely exhibited across Asia. This is her first exhibition in the UK and this display of ten new paintings demonstrates that Christine is an artist with a clear, distinctive style, and one with much to say.

White Cube Bermondsey, London to September 11, 2016

All photos by Victoria Sadler.

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