To the layman, conceptual art can seem quite intimidating; how do you even know where to begin to comprehend and appreciate the work in front of you?
With its close-to-heart topics of family and forgiveness, this art installation by Indonesian artist Christine Ay Tjoe may not be as unapproachable as you may think. Give the Hermès Third Floor at Liat Towers a visit this weekend and embrace the warmth of parental love and kindness at this art installation.
The Indonesian artist, Christine Ay Tjoe and her art installation at Third Floor: The Famous One from Lucas #1
With The Famous One from Lucas #1, the artist deals with the tribulations of forgiveness and repentance with a gentle and deft hand.
She opts for soft fabric walls that transform the art space into a cocoon-like environment, much like a nurturing mother wrapping her child in a warm embrace. Harsh words are done away with; there are only infinite kindness and love, even for the wayward child.
Home is the place where the heart belongs, or so the cliche goes. But for a recalcitrant son, the act of coming home isn’t an easy journey; to recognise the wrongs he has committed, to choose to repent and most importantly, to seek forgiveness from the family that he had left behind.
Carefully hand-stitched dolls and ornaments dot the perimeter of these fabric walls, forming a homeward bound memory path for the lost child.
He recognises these objects from his childhood, seeking much-needed comfort in the happy memories that these invoke. It makes the necessity of his return home more profoundly felt.
The centrepiece of the art installation: a torn-up sofa with a poignant spot where the father waits for his son’s return.
It’s literally the site of an emotional war zone for father-and-son; Christine represents this intense reunion by taking a pristine sofa apart and stitching it together again with tied up bundles of goose feathers and tulle.
Specially commissioned by Hermès, this site-specific art installation was inspired by the biblical Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). The parable spoke out to Christine because of its very relatable, almost universal context; Lucas’ situation, she says, “can happen to anyone”.
As evident in this art installation, Christine values the more traditional, “hands-on” approach to her art. Christine says that when she was studying graphic art at the University of Bandung, she grew to “admire the quality of handmade objects; I can control, feel and touch this medium in all aspects”.
Hand-made work becomes significant to her because she “can create these with my own hands, without any help of other tools”. Indeed, the process of creation may take more time but it also “becomes more personal, enjoyable and fulfilling” for her as an artist.
As with past projects with young contemporary artists, French luxury house Hermès commissions, produces and presents Christine’s work at its non-commercial art space, with the work returned to the artist after the exhibition. Project discussion for this commissioned work first began in July; Christine flew in to Singapore for a week to create and set up the art installation.
The Indonesian artist was also one of 15 artists nominated for the Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Signature Art Prize; her work, Lama Sabakhtani #01 is currently exhibited at the Singapore Art Museum from now to March 4, 2012.
While she is pleased with the nomination, the modest artist shares that at the end of the day, “It’s not so much about winning a prize. The best achievement is when I can make the work as close as to how I have conceptualised it in my mind.”
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