Henri Chopin

Henri Chopin,Anton Voyls Fortgang
Installation view at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, 2013
Group show with: Guy de Cointet, Channa Horwitz
Henri Chopin, La crevette amoureuse
Installation View at Supportico Lopez, Berlin, 2013
Henri Chopin, La crevette amoureuse
Installation View at Supportico Lopez, Berlin, 2013
Henri Chopin, Dans l'Essex
installation view at Firstsite, Colchester, 2014
Henri Chopin, "POEM N° 0000000000000000000000000000,9"
Installation view at Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo, 2015
Group show with: Julian Beck, Henri Chopin, Natalie Häusler, James Hoff, Zin Taylor, Adriano Costa, Lenora de Barros, Karl Holmqvist, Gregorio Magnani
Henri Chopin, "Go and Come Back"
Installation view at Paradise Garage, Venice (US), 2015
Group show with: Julian Beck, Marco Bruzzone, J Parker Valentine
Henri Chopin, PÊCHE DE NUIT (o hell ah well yes well)
Installation view at RaebervonStenglin, Zurich, 2015
A project of Supportico Lopez.
Group show with: Carl Andre, Mel Bochner, George Brecht, John Cage, Bob Cobbing, Raoul Hausmann, Geoffrey Hendricks, Dick Higgins, Jackson Mac Low, Maurizio Nannucci, Gerhard Rühm, Arrigo Lora Totino, Emmett Williams
Henri Chopin, PÊCHE DE NUIT (o hell ah well yes well)
Installation view at RaebervonStenglin, Zurich, 2015
A project of Supportico Lopez.
Group show with: Carl Andre, Mel Bochner, George Brecht, John Cage, Bob Cobbing, Raoul Hausmann, Geoffrey Hendricks, Dick Higgins, Jackson Mac Low, Maurizio Nannucci, Gerhard Rühm, Arrigo Lora Totino, Emmett Williams
Henri Chopin, "SOS"
Installation view at Koppe Astner Gallery, Glasgow, 2016
Group show with: Alex Frost, Ryan McLaughlin, Corin Sworn, Anne De Vries
Henri Chopin, Poésie Balistique
Installation view at La Verrière - Fondation Hermès, 2016
Group Show with: Marcel Broodthaers, Liz Deschenes, Thomas Hirschhorn, Scott Lyall, Dora Maurer, Helen Mirra, Dominique Petitgand, Christopher Williams, Channa Horwitz
Henri Chopin, Poésie Balistique
Installation view at La Verrière - Fondation Hermès, 2016
Group Show with: Marcel Broodthaers, Liz Deschenes, Thomas Hirschhorn, Scott Lyall, Dora Maurer, Helen Mirra, Dominique Petitgand, Christopher Williams, Channa Horwitz
Henri Chopin, Poésie Balistique
Installation view at La Verrière - Fondation Hermès, 2016
Henri Chopin
Une forme pure, 1968
Ink on paper
29 x 20 cm
Henri Chopin
On recherche les tueurs, 1967
Color print on paper
62.5 x 46 cm
Henri Chopin
Ou c'est ou, 1968
B/w print on paper
62 x 45.6 cm
Henri Chopin
Les cuisses de grenouilles, 1968
Collage on wood with black paint
49 x 18 x 2 cm
Henri Chopin
auto-portrait, 1970
Color print on paper
33 x 25.5 cm
Henri Chopin
la femme aux 100'000 vagins, 1966-1970
Offset print on paper
112 x 51 cm
Henri Chopin
C’est beau for..., 1973
collage and pencil on paper, 25.1 x 22.5 cm
Henri Chopin
Hommage au soleil, 1974
Ink on paper, collage
25 x 20 cm
Henri Chopin
A prononcer en Français, 1975
Ink on paper, crayon
29.7 x 21 cm
Henri Chopin
Vie, 1975
Ink on paper, gouache
29.7 x 21 cm
Henri Chopin
fragile, 1976
Color print on paper
76.3 x 49.5 cm
Henri Chopin
vagues pour l'Europe 1992, February 1989
Ink on paper
32 x 24 cm
HC/ 921
Henri Chopin
91 visions, 1991
Ink on paper
32 x 24 cm
Henri Chopin
Mathématiques, 1993
Ink on paper
37.5 x 24.1 cm
Henri Chopin
Le voisin, 1993
Ink on paper
32 x 24 cm
Henri Chopin, “From Concrete to Liquid to Spoken Worlds to the Word”
Installation view at Centre d’art contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2017
Henri Chopin, “From Concrete to Liquid to Spoken Worlds to the Word”
Installation view at Centre d’art contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2017
Henri Chopin, “From Concrete to Liquid to Spoken Worlds to the Word”
Installation view at Centre d’art contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2017
Henri Chopin, “From Concrete to Liquid to Spoken Worlds to the Word”
Installation view at Centre d’art contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2017
Henri Chopin, “From Concrete to Liquid to Spoken Worlds to the Word”
Installation view at Centre d’art contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2017
Henri Chopin, “From Concrete to Liquid to Spoken Worlds to the Word”
Installation view at Centre d’art contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2017
Henri Chopin, “From Concrete to Liquid to Spoken Worlds to the Word”
Installation view at Centre d’art contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2017
Henri Chopin, “From Concrete to Liquid to Spoken Worlds to the Word”
Installation view at Centre d’art contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2017
Henri Chopin, “From Concrete to Liquid to Spoken Worlds to the Word”
Installation view at Centre d’art contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2017
Henri Chopin, “From Concrete to Liquid to Spoken Worlds to the Word”
Installation view at Centre d’art contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2017
Henri Chopin, “From Concrete to Liquid to Spoken Worlds to the Word”
Installation view at Centre d’art contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2017
Henri Chopin, “From Concrete to Liquid to Spoken Worlds to the Word”
Installation view at Centre d’art contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2017
Henri Chopin, “From Concrete to Liquid to Spoken Worlds to the Word”
Installation view at Centre d’art contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2017
Henri Chopin, “From Concrete to Liquid to Spoken Worlds to the Word”
Installation view at Centre d’art contemporain Genève, Geneva, 2017

Henri Chopin (Paris, 18 June 1922 – Norfolk, 3 January 2008) was an avant-garde artist, poet and musician, other than a painter, graphic artist and designer, teacher, typographer, independent publisher, film-maker, broadcaster and arts promoter. He is widely considered to be a pioneer in the recognition and distribution of sound-poetry.

Henri Chopin was a little-known but key figure of the French avant-garde during the second half of the 20th century. Known primarily as a concrete and sound poet, he created a large body of pioneering recordings using early tape recorders, studio technologies and the sounds of the manipulated human voice. His emphasis on sound is a reminder that language stems as much from oral traditions as from classic literature, of the relationship of balance between order and chaos.

Born in a family of painters, where attending school was not considered to be necessary,  he was sent to work at twelve years old – a condition which he escaped in 1940 during the city’s evacuation, at the age of eighteen, picking back his studies in French and literature, in Versailles. Deported to Germany in 1943, after having hid for a year in Houdan, he spent periods in prison and in hiding before being repatriated, and subsequently enlisted as a solider. Once repatriated, he spends some years working and tutoring. In 1947 he makes the acquaintance of Valentine Hugo at La Maison de la Pensée Française. Thanks to this first encounter, Chopin will be in contact with poets and intellectuals such as Fernand Léger, Vergers, and Burtin. After another period of time under the army, he marries Jean Ratcliffe, with whom he studies TS Eliot and James Joyce. During the 1950s Chopin started to work with sound on his first portable tape recorder, soon loosing interest in the simple human voice and replacing it with more primitive human sounds, working on their manipulation by experimenting with current technologies. The encounter with Altagor, the father of Metapoetry whose shared interest in Russian songs and Annamite dances will become of determinant influence in the poet’s research into remote sound – intended as sound poems and theatrical performances, is shortly followed by that with André Breton, which marks the first experiments using a tape recorder, and the quest for an alternative approach, a new sound dimension to express electronic work. Chopin’s interest focused on all possible variations of the human voice, seen as an action and “language” of the body. He discovered that the inside of a human being carries with it a form of primordial poetry that he decided to express in the form of ‘concrete poetry’. His first publications, edited by Caractères, come out in 1957. In the years to follow, he creates Cinquième Saison, a periodical review meant to instigate a confrontation between the so-called ‘experimental poets’ – whom Chopin count himself amongst, considering them the real truth-seekers, and the ‘poets that write’. Thanks to the publication – each issue containing recordings as well as texts, images, screen prints and multiples – a whole wave of poets, the marginals (including Jean arp, Paul de Vree and Jean Rousselot) could be brought forward to the attention of the literary environment. Together with an latter audio-visual publication, OU, Chopin brought together an international parade of emerging writers and artists, members of Lettrisme and Fluxus, figures such as Jiri Kolar, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Tom Philips, Brion Gysin, William S. Burroughs and many others, as well as bringing the work of survivors from earlier generations such as Raoul Hausmann and Marcel Janco. Electronic poetry, objective poetry, open poetry are all terms which emerged in the period running from the late 50s to 1963, year of Pêche de Nuit, the first film of electronic poetry, realised with Luc Peire and Tjerk Wicky. In parallel, there emerges a confrontation between Ursonate, the disc work of a then barely known Kurt Schwitters, and one of Chopin’s first electronic poems Espace et gestes. From that decade onwards, Chopin’s relentless and multifaceted exploration of the word and the sound continued up until his disappearance, always echoing the socio-political moments Europe was coming across with unique humour, intelligence and ever innovative aesthetics, such as those of his typewriter poems or his collaborations to exhibition design, and accordingly to his movements across the continent, which saw him spending long seasons in London, as well as Naples.

The production of Henri Chopin was an inspired attempt to open the medium of poetry into a form described by the author as ‘a poetry of spaces’: demonstrating ‘the sensory superiority of sound as opposed to normal speech, and […] free man from the straightjacket of words and letters and from his obedience to didactics.’ It is significant above all for its diverse spread of creative achievement, as well as for his position as a focal point of contact for the international arts. As poet, painter, graphic artist and designer, typographer, independent publisher, film-maker, broadcaster and arts promoter, Chopin’s work is a barometer of the shifts in European media between the 1950s and the 1970s. Chopin spent a lot of time in Naples from the beginning of the 1980s due to his collaborative projects with Peppe Morra, founder of Fondazione Morra, one of the most renowned spaces for contemporary art active within the city. Morra and Chopin worked closely together up until the final years of the French artist’s life. During this time they produced numerous publications, a large number of which were based on his stunning production of “typewriter poems”, throughout which Chopin had found a new possibility for poetry, a happy marriage between the sound and the written form. Following a formal approach, he constructed a new alphabetical narration that actually had no responsibility for communication.

To Chopin, sound poetry was “a rediscovery of the space of limbo that we lost when we discovered the written word.”

 

Bio

Born 1922, Paris, FR

Died 2008, Dereham, UK

Solo Exhibitions (selection)

2017

Henri Chopin, From Concrete to Liquid to Spoken Worlds to the Word, Centre d’art contemporain Genève, CH

2014

Henri Chopin – Dans L’Essex, Firstsite, Colchester, UK

2013

Henri Chopin, Gratte Ciel Hors Commerce, New Jerseyy, Basel, CH

L’Énergie Du Sommeil, 1M3, Lausanne, CH

La Crevette Amoureuse, Supportico Lopez, Berlin, DE

2012

Revue OU – Cinquième Saison: An Anthology of Sound Poetry, Argos, Brussels, BE

OU OU OU: Henri Chopin and Revue OU, Summerhall, Edinburgh, UK

2011

Henri Chopin and the OU Magazine, Fundação de Serralves Porto, PO

Neonlicht#1 – Henri Chopin in het archief Paul De Vree, M HKA, Antwerp, BE

2010

In Neapel, Supportico Lopez Gallery, Berlin, DE

2008

Henri Chopin, Three Minutes, Cubitt Gallery, London, UK

2005

LES FILTRES DE L’ ALPHABET ET DE L’€, Fondazione Morra, Naples, IT

1998

Henri Chopin, Sonic Memory, Norwich Gallery, Norwich, UK

1993

Henri Chopin:Revue OU, Collection OU, Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen, DE

1979

Poesia Sonora, Studio Santandrea, Milan, IT

1974

Henri Chopin: Ideas Gallery, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, UK

1972

Ceolfrith 18: Henri Chopin, Ceolfrith Arts Centre, Sunderland, UK

Group Exhibitions (selection)

2016

Poésie Balistique, with Marcel Broodthaers, Henri Chopin, Liz Deschenes, Thomas Hirschhorn, Scott Lyall, Dora Maurer, Helen Mirra, Dominique Petitgand, Christopher Williams, Channa Horwitz and others, La Verrière – Hermès Fondation Brussels, BE

2015

Poem N°0000000000000000000000000000,9 with Julian Beck, Adriano Costa, Lenora de Barros, Natalie Häusler, James Hoff, Karl Holmqvist, Zin Taylor, curated by Supportico Lopez, Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo, BR

La mot et la chose, Galerie Natalie Seroussi, Paris, FR

Collecting Lines – Drawings from the Ringier Collection, Villa Flora, Winterthur, CH

PÊCHE DE NUIT (oh well ah well yes well) / A project of Supportico Lopez, RaebervonStenglin, Zürich, CH

OU: UR: SOURCE, La Plaque Tournante, Berlin, DE

2014

Go and come back, with Julian Beck, Marco Bruzzone, Henri Chopin, J. Parker Valentine, Supportico Lopez at Paradise Garage, Los Angeles, US

Der Leone Have Sept Cabeças, Crac Alsace, Altkirch, FR

… all silent but for the buzzing …, Royal College of Art Galleries, London, UK

2013

Revue Ou, Poesie Sonore, Poesie Ouverte, Poesie Konkret 1964-1974, Oslo 10, Münchenstein, CH

Homes & Gardens, Freedman Fitzpatrick, Los Angeles, US

Poetry & Performance, with Ida Applebroog and Gina Pane, Richard Saltoun, London, UK

Anton Voyls Fortgang /A Void, with Guy De Cointet and Channa Horwitz, Kunstsaele Berlin, Berlin, DE

Vocal Folds, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, AU

Die dritte Dimension, with Natalie Häusler, Giulio Delvé, Maria Adele Del Vecchio, Supportico Lopez at Frutta Gallery, Rome, IT

Anton Voyls Fortgang /A Void, with Guy De Cointet and Channa Horwitz, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, DE

2012

It’s When It’s Gone That You Really Notice It, Simone Subal Gallery, New York, US

Face to Face, Deakin University, Melbourne, AU

Ecstatic Alphabet/Heaps of Language, MOMA, New York, US

2010

Novel, Dépendance, Brussel, BE

2009

Poor. Old. Tired. Horse. ICA, London, UK

1967

Henri Chopin, Julien Blaine, Francois Dufrene and HW Muller, concert at Musée d’art Modern de Ville de Paris, FR

Bibliography

Selected Publications

2016

Review of “SOS” at Koppe Astner, Glasgow, Art Review, April 2016, p. 114

2014

Henri Chopin, Motto Books & Supportico Lopez ed., De la Démocratie / Of Democracy – Henri Chopin, edition of 1000, p. June 2014, ISBN: 978-2-940524-21-1. ©1984 Henri Chopin, Enluminure, Fondazione Morra, Naples

2013

Astrid Mania, “Henri Chopin, Supportico Lopez”, Artforum, September 2013, p. 425

Luca Cerriza, Henri Chopins menschliche Fabrik, published in Anton Voyls Fortgang, A Void, Henri Chopin, Guy De Cointet and Channa Horwitz, pp.27-29, Leipzig: Spector Books

Vincenzo Latronico, ‘Henri Chopin’s “La Crevette Amoureuse”, Supportico Lopez Berlin’, Art Agenda, May

2012

Best of 2012, “Ecstatic Alphabets / Heaps of Language”, Museum of Modern Art, Tim Griffin, Artforum, December 2012, pp.238-241

2011

Why I am the author of sound poetry and free poetry, Henri Chopin, Nero, No. 27, Autumn 2011, pp.59-66, (Rome: Nero)

2009

Limitless Voice(s), Intensive Bodies: Henri Chopin’s Poetics of Expansion, Mosaic (Winnipeg), Vol 42, No. 2

2008

Henri Chopin, Espace Fremissant, by Giannantonio Morghen (Milan: Associazione Renzo Cortina)

2007

“Le Cahier du Refuge” 162, (Marseille: Centre International de Poesie)

2006

Graphpoemesmechine, (Biella: Zero Gravita)

2002

J’ose ! – defier, (Verona, Archivio F. Conz)

La Marche de la Mort, Avenat Pedant Apres

2001

Panorama, (Geneva: Ed Ottezec)

Réalité sonorous

1994

Hors-l’or (Appel à L’orage de L’oral), (caen: éd. Cahiers de nuit)

1993

- & +, (montingy/france: éditions voix Richard)

1992

Henri Chopin and Paul Zumthor, Les Riches Heures de l’Alphabet. Paris: Edition Traversière

1990

Squelette du verbe et alentour

1987

Henri Chopin, (Paris: Galerie Brigitte Schéhadé)

1986

Ray to the Rays, (Verona: edition Francesco Conz)

1985

La Conference de Yalta, 1985 (Napoli: Ed Morra)

1984

The Last Book of the Rich Alphabetical Hours of the Chopins, 1984, (Glasgow: Third Eye Centre)

1983

The Limitations of Letterisme: An Interview with Henri Chopin, Nicholas Zurbrugg, Visible Language, Issue 17.3, July

1982

16 Typewriter Poems, (Köln: Edition Hundertmark)

1978

Portfolio Chopin, (Geneva: Editions Ottezec) With Cozette De Charmoy and William S. Burroughs

1976

The Cosmographical Lobster: A Poetical Novel, 1976, (London: Gaberbocchus)

1975

Portrait des 9 (Marche Commun), (Antwerp)

1973

Signs, (London: Ruby Edition)

Three Artists, Six Images, Robert Altmann, Henri Chopin with John Furnival and Tom Phillips

1970

Peche de Nuit, 1970, notes for 45rpm record in Le Dernier Roman du Monde. Wetteren: Editions Cyanuur. (Orig. 1957)

1969

Uncorrect poem for Henri Chopin, Openings Press

1967

Why I am the Author of Sound Poetry and Free Poetry

1958

Chants de Nuit

L’arriviste, (Paris: Ed Caractères)

1957

Regard Total

Signes. Poèmes, (Paris, Ed. Caractères)

Exhibition Catalogues

2013

Anton Voyls Fortgang /A Void, Henri Chopin, Guy De Cointet and Channa Horwitz, (Leipzig: Spector Books)

1992

Henri Chopin, eds./curators Nicholas Zurbrugg and Marlene Hall, Morningside, (Qld: Queensland College of Art Gallery)

1974

Henri Chopin: Ideas gallery. Graphics, objects and other poems. (London: Whitechapel Art Gallery)

1972

Ceolfrith 18, (Sunderland: Ceolfrith Press)

1967

Festival de Fort Boyard, (Paris: Musee d’art Modern) in: Revue OU 30/31 program folder to concert

Discography

1994

Staccati en glissando: pour une voix humane (radiophonic music), undated, Delta/The Listening Room

Henri Chopin, les 9 saintes-phonies: a retrospective (Amsterdam: Staalplaat STCD 070/Korm Plastics KP 4694, 1994). Compilation curated by John Hudak, and contains an interview of Chopin done by Hudak in 1990, as well as essays about Chopin by Hugh Davies, Sten Hanson, Larry Wendt, and Nicholas Zurbrugg.

1979

Les Chuitantes Respirant

1974

Throat Power

1973

You Vetigo Vertige

1972

Poésie Sonore, S Press

1971

Audiopoems, Tangent Records, UK