FOR YOUR EYES: Jordan Nassar
The Third Line is pleased to present For Your Eyes, Jordan Nassar’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. Also marking the artist’s debut in the Gulf region, For Your Eyes brings to question the effects of diaspora on cultural and mnemonic identity through the various formal and conceptual layers of a new series of hand-embroidered works.
Executed in collaboration with craftswomen living and working in Hebron, where embroidery skills have been passed down for generations, the patterned works juxtapose local traditions of making with Jordan’s western painterly aesthetic. Such incongruous stylistic coexistence metaphorically embodies the contrast between what Jordan refers to as his ‘Palestinian-ness’ and his out-of-place feeling while in Palestine.
From intricate geometric grids sewn by the Hebron women on areas of the canvas predetermined by Jordan, sprout up multicolored landscape patches embroidered by the artist. Unrestrained by color palette, the craftswomen lay the foundations of Jordan’s kaleidoscopic panoramas, in which randomness of color selection gives way to an evident complementarity and the impression that Jordan does, in fact, belong.
Echoing efforts to map out reliefs of his identity and the difficulty such enterprise entails, are the titles of the show and works. Named after Umm Kulthum songs, the English renditions refer to lost in translation moments when literal meaning takes over the idiomatic one, often leading to an incomplete, and sometimes even inaccurate, understanding of cultural artifacts.
“In Arabic, the song For Your Eyes is ' من اجل عیونك — an expression meaning something along the lines of 'just for you' (because you asked, because I love you, because you're beautiful, because your eyes are beautiful I'll do what you ask). But it's translated as For Your Eyes, which doesn't capture the romance, love, and actual significance of this phrase,” explains Jordan about the lag in translation. While one cannot always translate sentiments, the collaborative works in For Your Eyes sow the seeds to perhaps one day reap a complete own, rooted, persona.