MINERVA AXIS - JENNIFER TEE
Jennifer Tee investigates the Minerva axis
Last spring, at the invitation of the Virtual Museum Zuidas, the artist Jennifer Tee came up with a very special design for the Gershwinplein, located in the Gershwin residential sector – between the De Boelelaan, the Buitenveldertselaan, the Gustav Mahlerlaan and the Beethovenstraat. Tee’s design, entitled ‘Oeverloos Verlangen’ (Shoreless Longing) is a pool of water above tiles arranged in a cosmopolitan, geometric pattern that continues in a three-dimensional sitting area on the edges. A play of light, pulsing fountains and bubbling-up letters provide an opportunity for passive and active enjoyment: the design is both a game and an invitation to the imagination and to philosophical daydreaming. Unfortunately, this visionary plan cannot be realized, as it does not fit within the now-changed approach to public space in the Zuidas. Rather than putting the emphasis on a single, iconic square, the commissioners of Zuidas prefer to consider public space in the future Minerva axis, which includes both the Gershwinplein and the Mahlerplein, as a single, harmonious whole. For this reason, last summer Jennifer Tee was given a new assignment; namely, to investigate what contribution art can make to public space in the entire Minerva axis, including the squares. The Minerva axis will be one of the most important gathering and recreational places in the heart of the Zuidas.
Jennifer Tee – ‘Afterward, it all works’
The proposed artists are selected for the following: unique thought processes and great artistic professionalism. Being able to work in team situations throughout the course of a project. Having the intelligence and ability to analyze extensive preconditions and requirements and evaluate these as stimulating rather than restraining factors.
Jennifer Tee (1973) was chosen based on these criteria. Her documentation presented a varied, rich and inspired picture of her possibilities as an artist. Jennifer Tee does not easily fit in traditional categories: she does not make paintings or sculptures; instead, she makes personally tinted and poetic landscapes, in the museum or outside of it. In those landscapes, a voyage of discovery along scintillating, brightly coloured magical objects awaits the audience. Not for nothing was her contribution to the São Paulo art biennial, where Tee represented the Netherlands in 2004, dubbed the ‘Wonderful Tee Territory’.
She has great admiration for the machineries of Jean Tinguely, is inspired by traditions from other cultures, and recently rediscovered the Dutch minimalist Ad Dekkers. In her exhibitions, Jennifer regularly combines her own work with that of other artists, such as the coloured sticks of the ‘hippie’ minimalist Andre Cadere and facsimiles of the French writer and revolutionary Guy Debord, spokesman for International Situationism. You might say that the work of Jennifer Tee also embroiders upon the heritage of a longer tradition of Situationism that arose in the 1950s.
What is particularly memorable, however, is the position Jennifer took as an artist and her views on autonomous artistry during her exhibition Nameless Swirls, an unfolding in presence in the Van Abbe Museum in 2003. In the newly reopened Van Abbe, she was one of the first to be offered a solo exhibition. Instead of doing the usual, and exhibiting as an autonomously working artist, she put together a joint exhibition with a team of artists. Her comment: ‘Collaborating with others gives me so much more. Maybe I have passed the stage of working alone.’ In doing this, as a young artist, she very courageously and convincingly broke through the traditional notion that an artwork is a unique work by one person, the autonomous artist.
A well-chosen comment by Jennifer, ‘Afterward, it all works’, refers to a wide experience in the process of working together that draws upon a rich knowledge of possibilities, sources of inspiration and exchange with other specialists to ulimately produce the right work.
The design for the Gershwinplein was chosen for this artistic position.