For more than a decade Jimmy Riordan has been working with and around Francis Jammes’ turn of the century French novel Le Roman du Lièvre. Beginning with his amateur effort to translate the story without knowing French, Riordan’s Le Roman du Lièvre Project(LRDL) continues to reimagine itself and the arrangement of its various parts.
In 2014 Riordan had the opportunity to letterpress print his translation of Le Roman du Lièvre. Over the last 4 years, as part of various readings, meals and performances, the monotype used in the printing process has been sorted alphabetically, each letter melted down into a series of lead forms. LRDL2018.01 collects these forms in piles of various weights, demonstrating another way to organize and understand the language comprising Riordan’s translation.
In the fall of 2017 Riordan began a year long residency at the Anchorage Museum resource center and archives. His first visit focused on documenting, cataloging and then disposing of the various material collected over the previous 10 years of his LRDL project. LRDL2017.01 is the catalog number of this collection. These are photographs of a small selection of the objects from the collection.
READINGS, MEALS, EVENTS
From September 2014 to the spring of 2018 Riordan toured his translation of Le Roman du Lièvre, reading from the text and annotating the story with insights about translation, the letterpress printing of the book and accounts of the project's history. Readings began with a casual discussion of letterpress and the sorting of lead type used in the printing process and concluded with the ceremonial melting of this monotype, resulting in a unique form. Many of these readings were accompanied by themed meals.
In 2008 Jimmy Riordan translated the poet Francis Jammes’ turn of the century novel Le Roman du Lièvre from French into English. At the time he did not know any french. In the summer of 2014, after over five years working around the text, he finally printed his translation.
With the help of the community at Zygote Press in Cleveland, OH, printing was approached through a participatory process modeled after the educational philosophy of Jacques Rancière’s Ignorant Schoolmaster.
The edition of 250 books was set in mono-type and hand-printed on a Vandercook press. The cover was printed on paper hand made specifically for the projectat the Morgan Conservatory. The finished book is sold bound or as an unbound manuscript.
HELD UP BOOK ONE: 2012 - 2014
Held Up is a sort of mnemonic device. Book One contains the first six chapters of the graphic novel. It is a travel story, following the quest of a single determined adventurer as he makes his way towards a mysterious goal with equally mysterious cargo. The story shifts back and forth from this concrete quest and a dream-like exploration of memory.
Held Up is structurally modeled after Le Roman du Lièvre, though it shares no characters, places, or plot elements with it. The story has the same number of chapters as Le Roman du Lièvre, each chapter drawing a general theme from the original. The details (people, places, plot) are taken from the long relationship Riordan has had with Le Roman du Lièvre, its translation and the series of projects and adventures he has been a part of as a result. Each chapter is accompanied by extensive notes drawing connections between it and the larger project.
RETURN TO ME: 2012
Installed at the IGCA in Anchorage, AK, the 2012 Return To Me exhibition celebrated the end of the collaborative process started with Riordan's 2009 Le Roman du Lièvre: Marginalia exhibition.
Return To Me was comprised of six color prints, an audio installation, a meal, and sculptures by Nebraskan artist Heidi Bartlett. This work was shown alongside Riordan's prints documenting abandoned gasoline stations on the Alaska / Canada Highway.
The cooperative leg of Riordan's journey began in London in 2008 with an audio CD and a meal. The CD contained the entirety of his translation read aloud by Florence Boyd. The meal was made from flora and fauna found within the pages of Le Roman du Lièvre.
As part the Return To Me show, Riordan again delved into the realm of food and sound. This time, instead of drawing material from Le Roman du Lièvre itself, he collected it from his recent travels, utilizing audio from his tour through North America in 2010 and food collected in the winter of 2011/12 from the homes of those Marginalia artists living in Europe.
This collection of paper lithographs began in 2008 as a series of travel photographs inspired by the work of Ed Ruscha. Driving the Alaska Highway, Riordan decided to photograph every abandoned gasoline station between Dawson Creek, B.C and Delta Junction, Alaska.
In 2010 Riordan returned to the Alcan to record the locations of each gasoline station. This second trip coincided with the first leg of Return To Me.
Over the winter of 2011-2012, as a continuation of Return to Me, Riordan traveled to Europe. On New Year's Day he visited both the birth place and grave of Francis Jammes, along with Maison Chrestia in Orthez, France, the house in which Jammes wrote Le Roman du Lièvre. Across the street from Maison Chrestia stood the remains of an abandoned gasoline station.
These pieces were selected from the 37 black and white prints exhibited alongside other work related to Return to Me at the IGCA in Anchorage, AK, in June of 2012.
This octavo signature fold pamphlet was made to accompany the June 2012 Return To Me opening. It includes a mission statement, information about the Alaska Highway, and the locations of all the abandoned gasoline stations between Delta Junction, AK and Dawson Creek, BC. Each pamphlet unfolds into 1 of 9 posters.
MARGINALIA - APPENDIX G: 2011
The catalog for Marginalia and Return to Me. Includes pictures of ephemera and from the road, literal marginalia, blog entries, letters, essays, quotes and recipes. Constructed at Rabbit Rabbit Press in Anchorage, AK, Appendix G includes a custom air freshener. The first 100 copies were accompanied by 53 postcards documenting the work from the 2009 Marginalia show at MTS Gallery.
RETURN TO ME: 2010
In the spring of 2010 Leslie Rosa and Jimmy Riordan took the Marginalia exhibition on the road. The goal of this trip was to meet with all of the participating artists based within the United States and Canada and to return to them their work.
Rosa and Riordan also collaborated with various art spaces across the country on exhibition-related projects and pop-up shows, documented the trip, sent post cards and began to construct a Marginalia catalog
Le Roman du Lièvre: Marginalia was a group exhibition of local Alaskan, national and international artists whose works, which range from painting and sculpture to video, performance and food, were all created in response to the same assigned text. The exhibition was curated by New York-based curator Leslie Rosa and Alaskan artist Jimmy Riordan. Marginalia opened Friday, September 18, 2009, celebrated with live readings, performances, and music.
The following gallery includes images of some of the work involved in the show, intermixed with other related "marginalia."
Jimmy Riordan spent a week in downtown Anchorage trading books from his take a book/leave a book bicycle-library. The mobile library began its week with 21 books specifically chosen by artists participating in the Marginalia exhibit. Riordan began with 2 copies of each book, the first for trade, the second kept as a sort of control library. Trades were all one for one. Participants were not limited to any number of trades. Riordan could not refuse to trade with anyone for any reason. Each transaction was recorded in a logbook by the participants.
APPENDIX A - F : 2007-2008
In the fall of 2007, while living in London, Jimmy Riordan began what would become a continuing series of books, performances, and other work serving as appendices to his own eventual translation of the French poet Francis Jammes’ 1902 novel Le Roman du Lièvre. Each piece, intended to explore ideas regarding translation, chronicle Riordan’s investigations into the novel’s subject matter. Though the earlier of these appendices were all books dealing with the artist’s personal relationship to the text, the latter, including a collaborative audio book and the preparation and presentation of a meal, would begin to take on more cooperative and public forms.