• Issue
  • Jul 01, 2022

Up Close: Jennifer Tee

JENNIFER TEETampan World Mountain, Tree of Life, 2021, tulip-petal collage on paper, 172 × 188 cm. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam.

Before films animated silver screens and novels were churned out of printing presses, stories could be preserved and distributed in tapestries. Action-packed scenes unfold in Jennifer Tee’s striking Tampan Tulip (2014– ) collages, which draw from the tampan, or ship cloths, of southern Sumatra’s Lampung region. Several symbols reappear throughout the series, including a symmetrical ship with a high prow and stern pictured with angular lines. In Tampan World Mountain, Tree of Life (2021), a column of tessellated, diamantine forms soars skyward from the vessel like an arboreal mast, another recurring motif. A human figure reaches for a trunk while two others are tethered via intricate, cascading branches. Swimming under the jagged waves that lap at the bilge are octopuses and fish.