Edition Reese, “In Visible Cities”


Title page: ink-jet print opposite the title, In Visible Cities, printed as a mesostic embedded in the fifteen city names included in Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.


Double page spread of the poem “Diomira.” Ink-jet print with letterpress Gill Sans Light


Double page spread of the poem “Perinthia.” Ink-jet print with letterpress Gill Sans Light


Detail of typographic turned letters to create the mesostic of the city name, “Perinthia”


Detail of the poem “Baucis.” Ink-jet print with letterpress Gill Sans Light


Artist: Edition Reese (Isla Vista, CA): Harry Reese, Sandra Liddell Reese and Jean-Pierre Hébert

Title: In Visible Cities (2012)

Medium/technique(s): hand-set letterpress, ink-jet printing, handmade paper

Edition size: 73

Dimensions, open: 17″ x 22″ x 3/4″

Dimensions, closed: 17″ x 11″


Artist statement:

In Visible Cities is a 2012 artist book by Jean-Pierre Hébert that Sandra Liddell Reese and I produced for our imprint, Edition Reese. Using an original poetic concept, the artist created poetic lines from the prose of Italo Calvino. The text is handset in Gill Sans Light and letterpress printed in our studios. The typography follows the all-caps style of Ilia Zdanevich (aka Iliazd), with the title of each poem set vertically within the horizontal lines of text. The city name is arranged as a “mesostic,” a term John Cage used to refer to a vertical phrase that intersects lines of horizontal text. Jean-Pierre Hébert’s images are generated algorithmically with the aid of a computer. They are ink-jet printed on an Epson 4800. The text paper is Niyodo Natural, an inkjet paper from Japan. The cover paper is handmade in our studios, with 15 small colorful circles punched from acrylic painted paper. A hybrid of the sewn-on-boards binding and flutter binding is used, all produced in our studios. In the words of the artist: “First, the book title as mesostic line filters and selects proper city names as wing words. Then, city-name mesostics assemble each poem from snippets chosen in their order of appearance within each city chapter. Last, fractal timelines animate worlds of lines, colors, and symbols implied by each city character and text properties. Generative poetry composed by ideas translated into code, deliberate rule breaking through chance or bugs, and digital humor.”