Title: The Mission
Venue: Abu Dhabi Art, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi
Curators: Cristiana De Marchi & Mohammed Kazem
Somewhere, amid the fair’s whirling carnival, the social tumult of meeting and greeting, you stop. The first you know is a hand extended that gently snags your passage, an optimistic ‘hello’ that resists the flow, rests you. You weren’t pulled from the stream, it’s gentler than that, an acknowledgement that engages. The hand proffers a CD, that anachronistic artefact, what does it promise – music burnt ambitiously and fervently in a bedroom? Classics reverently made object despite the ephemeral caprices of our digital tastes? Obsolete software? The thoughts flit, barely registering, but they’re enough to trip you a step out of time. The whorling procession continues around you, without you – now, you’re facing the interloper in a moment of exchange. Exchange implies conversation. It’ll certainly start there – however this goes, you’ll learn that this (they? he? she?) is Jumairy. Gauze blurs the face like misrecognition obscures the identity; they’re steadfastly insistent that they are Jumairy – with no apologetic, qualifying context provided, you’re sure they are too. Shuffling memories, focussed on grasping how you know Jumairy, any reference evades, dances away like the buoyant crowd that continues to shift, exchange, settle all around you. Your restless and futile mental combing gives way to mild irritation as you remember: exchange is commerce too. You’re released from the clutches of that guilty internal social scrambling, where a name, a face, a place, cannot cohere. Instead, your focus mingles with half-formed excuses as to why you cannot buy just now. Before you’re able to clarify what exactly it is you are not buying, and why you cannot buy, you find yourself alone, the case clutched in your hand.
This introduction was an initiation. You’re aware now – perhaps you’ll find a way to excavate the CD’s contents, perhaps you’ll note that you keep seeing Jumairy, or at least, the same designs emblazoned across t-shirts, the same gauze garb that accentuates the elusiveness. Maybe days after the encounter, you’ll find yourself in the midst of an e-commerce extravaganza Merchandise, Pills, Jam and Potions. (via: www.jumairy.com/shop)
Like this, in fragments, through ancillary experiences which steal and release our attention, for brief glimpsing moments, we encounter Jumairy. The glances are sidelong, but, unconsciously, we group them together – something in the aesthetics of a t-shirt design seen over-and-over, or else the fleeting out-of-place moments, innocuous but unusual, that means we begin to string them together. Yet, even with these elements, an image does not come into focus. As the parts are patched, all we get in return is the gloss of a persona composed. The artist reveals a terrain that borders the tangible and digital, a space where identity is manifested across fractured channels. Through these artifact and traces, we glimpse how characters are constructed and transacted through fragments, ephemera to be consumed and emblazoned, sought and bought.
Jumairy is one such avatar. A construct and a repository to explore concepts that do not exist easily within the artist’s own environment. The persona, neither figurative nor representative, unfolds across music, soundscapes, digital spaces, commercial ventures and immersive installations. The character is related to the artist, yet is not figurative nor representative. Jumairy eludes as he entices. Three linked but autonomous experiences play out across digital and tangible fair-affiliated spaces. A brand launch is sensed through a march of merchandise which floods the hall sporadically, on the hour, then disappears. Seek it out online, and it’ll evade you once more. Fleeting exchanges are performed and instigated amid the fervor of the fair. A strain of music is sensed, perhaps only intermittently heard, by a chosen and curious few long after the galleries have departed. Through them all, the lingering sense of a persona revealed and occluded remains. This is Jumairy.