Henri Chopin (1922-2008)
Chopin’s experiments in the field of sound poetry were ground-breaking. He was also an amazing performer.
From 1958 onwards, he published a magazine completely devoted to new forms of poetry. Originally, it was named Cinquième Saison and compiled by Raymond Syte. After just two editions the magazine was taken over by Henri Chopin and in 1964 he changed its name to OU.
In 1966, Chopin joined the infamous Destruction in Art Symposium in London.
Ten years later, I got to know him personally. Chopin started sending me copies of his magazine and every now and then he would add a gramophone disc.
In 1976, Chopin wrote the introductory text for my catalogue about the work of the Czech poet/artist Ladislav Novák. Three years later, in 1979, his concrete poetry was included in the exhibition Visual Work by Poets in Galerie A. It was a successful presentation and we talked about a solo show in my gallery. In the end it didn’t work out, but we always kept in touch.
After Chopin had passed away, a ‘typewriter poem’ turned up in his estate. It contained amongst others the line: Harry Ruhé n’est pas silencieux (Harry Ruhé is not silent. Most probably a pun on my originally German surname where Ruhe means: quiet). Once, Chopin had made it for me, but it was never sent.
Henri Chopin, letter, typewriter poem with collage, 29.7 x 22.5 cm, n/d. (ca. 1990)
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