Jennifer Tee wins the Cobra Art Prize

The Cobra Museum of Modern Art has announced that Jenifer Tee (Netherlands 1973) is the winner of the Cobra Art Prize Amstelveen. By awarding the biennial prize, the museum hopes to draw attention to the experimental nature of the Cobra movement and its relationship to contemporary art. Cobra (originally CoBrA) was an avant garde art movement formed in 1948 in Amsterdam after the German occupation during World War II and continued until 1951, when they changed the name to Internationale des Artistes Expérimentaux. The CoBrA artists wanted to make paintings and sculptures that went beyond realism and abstraction, looking to the directness of children’s drawings and primitive art for inspiration; the work is characterized by vivid color, agitated brushwork and distorted figuration. The name CoBRA was a combination of the initials of the members’ hometowns–Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam.

[Image at top: Painting from the original CoBrA artist Constant, Adieu la P., 1962 oil on canvas, 112 x 145.5 cm.]


Recipients of the Cobra Art Prize receive a €10,000 cash award, an exhibition at the Cobra Museum, and a publication.

“Over many years Jennifer Tee has shown herself to be a unique multi-talent, who can throw herself into making a thought-provoking choreography with the same apparent ease as creating a huge hanging sculpture,” jury director Saskia van Kampen told the press. “And it is extraordinary how, no matter how multi-layered her work may be, it still remains accessible for a wide public. The jury was unanimous in its decision to award the 2015 Cobra Art Prize to the multi-disciplinary artist, Jennifer Tee.”

The Cobra Art Prize jury consisted of Saskia van Kampen-Prein (curator, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, chair), Roos Gortzak (director, De Vleeshal, Middelburg), Domeniek Ruyters (chief editor, MetropolisM) and Katja Weitering (artistic director, Cobra Museum). The Cobra Art Prize committee members are Marieke Sanders-ten Holte, Mels Crouwel, Eelco Dijk and Els Ottenhof.

Previous winners include Joost Conijn(2005), Johannes Schwartz (2007), Gijs Frieling (2009), Nathaniel Mellors (2011), Metahaven (2014).

From the press release:

Jennifer Tee’s work is very diverse in form, from almost impossible to make ceramics to hand-knitted floorpieces from curved bamboo floating in fragile balance to complex performances. Collaboration with others (artists, graphic designers, choreographers) and the surroundings in which a work is created play an important role. One example is the progressive manner with which Tee investigates the changeability and complexity of constantly overlapping cultures. Her work attempts to capture and reactivate recurring themes in Western culture and art history and to permeate them with Eastern philosophy.

Written, spoken and sung language make up a recurring theme in much of Tee’s work. The language-based performances in particular are a key part of her oeuvre. Tee’s interest in written language has led to research into Egyptian hieroglyphs and Chinese calligraphy – both forms in which texts and symbols show an affinity with choreography. The performances have gone on to develop more and more into remarkably devised choreographies. Three of these performances and choreographies will be carried out during the exhibition.

Here are more images, which do in fact look very contemporary. Joe Bradley, Christian Rosa, and Josh Smith all come to mind.

Doucet, Spelende Figuur (Playing figure), 1949, painted, 33 x 49 cm

Constant, Kat (Cat), 1949 lithograph, 37 x 45 cm

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Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

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