Bandung-based artist Christine Ay Tjoe worked on an installation which was a special commission project this year to respond to the theme ARTJOG MMXXII: Arts in Common – Expanding Awareness.
Over the past twenty years, Ay Tjoe has been known for his works that pay attention to the complexities of human life. This time he presents an interactive work inspired by the form of Tardigrada (microscopic aquatic animals that are able to suspend their metabolism when environmental conditions do not allow them to live). This work that depicts appreciation for vitality or resilience is designed in such a way that visitors can touch, feel and even hug it.
Spirituality guides not only Ay Tjoe’s work but also her life more broadly. She was raised by her parents as a Catholic, making the family part of a minority in Indonesia, where more than 85 percent of the population is Muslim. She remains Catholic today and at times describes her work almost as a God-given task. “I feel I need to keep on making my art—it’s like I’ve been given a road, a path, and that road is suitable to explore the big ideas that I have,” she says.
Ay Tjoe’s success has been especially meaningful because female artists remain so underrepresented in museums and galleries worldwide, and their work is regularly valued less than that of male artists at auction.
Christine Ay Tjoe was born in 1973 in Bandung, Indonesia, where she studied and continues to live and work. Her work has been exhibited across Asia, including a major retrospective at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (2018). Ay Tjoe has also been featured in international group exhibitions, including Asia Society Triennial, New York (2020); Royal Academy of Arts, London (2017); National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung (2012); Singapore Art Museum (2012); Fondazione Claudio Buziol, Venice (2011); Saatchi Gallery, London (2011); Shanghai Contemporary (2010); National Gallery, Jakarta (2009); Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (2005); and the 1st Beijing International Art Biennale, China National Museum of Fine Art (2003).
Relevant reading: ARTJOG Returns to Yogyakarta.