Henri CHOPIN (France)
Henri Chopin (1922, Paris, France) – poet, performer, critic, publisher. In 1943 he was deported to Germany for forced labour, from which he was moved to Czechoslovakia for his systematic refusals to work, and placed into a reformatory camp. In 1944 he was imprisoned in Königsberg (East Prussia), later escaped and having crossed the front borderline, he tried to voluntary join the Soviet Army. In 1945 he was repatriated to France, and three years later Chopin signed up for military service in the French army and was sent to Indo-China. He started his creative literary and artistic activities in the midst 1940s. He is the author of more than twenty books on the experimental poetry, including the following: Signes. Poèmes (Paris, Ed. Caractères, 1957), Chants de Nuits (Jarnac: Ed. Tour de Feu, 1958), Portrait des 9 (Marché Commun) (Anvers: Ed. Guy Schraenen, 1975), The Cosmographical Lobster (London: Ed. Gaberbocchus, 1976), 16 Typewriterpoems (Köln: Edition Hundertmark, 1982), La Conference de Yalta (Naples: éd. Morra, 1985), squelette du verbe et alentour (Paris: éd. B. G. Lafabrie, 1990), -&+ (Montigny-lès-Metz: editions Voix, 1993) and many others. In 1958 he initiated publishing of the experimental poetry review “Cinquieme Saison” (by the year of 1963 19 issues had been published), in which the corpus of works of the authors of visual and sound trends was published for the first time. In 1964 the review was renamed “OU” (1964-74), each issue of which was a collection of texts, silk-screen prints and animation multiples. Some issues of the “OU” also contained LP recordings of pieces of sound poets. At different periods visual and sound poets were presented in it, such as: B. Gysin, B. Heidsieck, P. Hausmann, L. Peire, M. Seuphor, W. Burroughs, M. Janco, P. de Vree, F. Dufrêne, D. S. Houédard, E. Morgan, B. Cobbing, B. Vautier, J. Furnival and many others. On the whole, the review “OU” is characterised as “one of the key editions of visual, sound and concrete poetry in Europe in the post-war period” (N. Zurbrugg). Because of Chopin’s participation in the events of May 1968 in Paris, and under the threat of being arrested, he moved to England, and in 1969-74 continued publishing the “OU”. He is the author of the basic critical and documentary edition Poésie Sonore Internationale (+ 2MCs, Paris: Jean-Michel Place éditeur, 1979), dedicated to the history, theory and practice of the international sound poetry. On returning to Paris (1984) based on the archives “Cinquieme Saison – OU” he arranged several large international exhibitions of visual and experimental poetry in Poland, at a number of galleries and exhibition halls in France (including the exhibitions in the Georges Pompidou Centre, Paris, 1994), in Australia (1992), Germany (1993). Since 1963 he has conducted numerous solo exhibitions in Belgium, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, USA, Mexico, Czechoslovakia, Holland, and Sweden. In 1992 for Chopin’s retrospective exhibition the book Henri Chopin (Queensland: Griffith University, 1992) was published in Australia, it contained opinions of 56 poets, writers, collectors, publishers from various countries (such as W. Burroughs, J. Cage, B. Cobbing, B. Heidsieck, J. MacLow, G. Rühm and others) on the master’s creative activities. Chopin has held more than two hundred performances in various countries. He lives and works in Bagnolet (France).