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In The Open | Jane Le Besque & Rachel Hosein Nisbet

Jane Le Besque has previously created artist’s books with poets Jean Maison, and Joël Bastard. Invited recently by CCANW (Centre for Contemporary Art & the Natural World) as an associate artist, Jane’s distinctive watercolours and installations have also been exhibited at the Alpine Botanic Gardens, Meyrin, Switzerland; Lyon National Opera, France; the Historical Archive Museum of Hydra, Greece, and the Palazzo Tiepolo Passi (official collateral event of the 56th Venice Biennale).

Rachel Hosein Nisbet’s interest in art-poetry collaboration dates from 2007, when she published Erratics with wildlife photographer Gilbert Paquet. This project was an important milestone in her transition from studying geosciences – in which she has a PhD - to studying literature. As a PhD candidate, and interdisciplinary assistant at the University of Lausanne, Rachel’s main research interest is in ecopoetry.

Transposing Generations remembers four generations of a transnational family in four artist’s books. In ‘Marine Transgression’, memories of a Yorkshire Granddad are lain down like West Riding’s often-marine geological strata. While this first leporello uses a scientific marine metaphor, ‘To Nausicaa’ uses the mythical, extended metaphor of Odysseus’s arrival in Phaeacia to explore the poet’s first memory, waking from a coma. Jane Le Besque, in making this leporello, wanted its text to look tide-dragged, and swirled above a seabed; she felt this visually represented the poem’s prosody. Birds – important figures in Jane’s work – offer another evocative image for this far-flung family. In ‘Controlled Immigration’, Jane places humming birds behind bars, to figure a Trinidadian father’s cultural isolation in Kendal. In the final leporello, ‘Auspicium’, birds fly free, their behaviours guiding the next generation of a transnational family.