Frieze Masters' Spotlight: Henri Chopin

Stand H12 - Regent's Park NW1 4HA, 14 - 18 October 2015

One of the most influential experimental sound and performance artists of the twentieth century, Anglo-French artist Henri Chopin launched his career in Paris at the close of the second world war. He was a prisoner of war in Czechoslovakia and in Germany where as he later said, 'I learnt to be beaten, to eat one slice of bread a day and to fatten lice, to be afraid and to become aware of extra verbal communication where understanding and distrust need not be formulated'.


He travelled extensively in the following decade and returned to Paris in 1955, 'strengthened by the need I have to go beyond the Word'. 


The loss of his two brothers in the war combined with the horrors he had endured and witnessed left him disillusioned with the capabilities of language, whether written or spoken, and he searched for a new form of communication. The Lettriste movement and his heroes of the pre war avant-garde - Marcel Duchamp, Andre Breton, Kurt Schwitters, and the Dadaist Raoul Hausmann - offered him a world to further his investigations. 


Chopin quickly became a key member of the Concrete Sound & Poetry movement, a prolific performer, and active champion of the avant-garde through his revues Cinquieme Saison and OU.


The Henri Chopin exhibition at Frieze Masters Spotlight has been selected by curator Clara Kim and will include important and rare paintings, early hand-painted dactylopoems from the 1970s, sculptures, and an important collection of unique typewriter poems, influenced by the artist's preoccupation with ideas of order and disorder.  


Richard Saltoun is delighted to present the first significant retrospective in London of this key figure of the Parisian avant-garde. Described by William Burroughs as "an inner space explorer", his work continues to resonate for its emphasis on the human voice in its purest form, the 'raw primal voice' of humanity. 


Henri CHOPIN (1922, Paris, FR - 2008, Norfolk, UK)


Born in Paris in 1922, Chopin studied French literature in Paris after serving in Indo-China at the close of WWII. An introduction to Algator, the creator of Métapoésie, in 1953 and the Andre Breton in 1955, led to the development of his experimental audio-poems, performances, writings, and artworks. Chopin moved to England in 1968 with his wife and his two children where he continued to live, work and perform until his death in 2008.


Recent solo and group museum exhibitions include: Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf (2013); Firstsite, Colchester (2013); MOMA, New York (2012); Argos, Brussels (2012); and Fundação Serralves, Porto (2011).


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