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Page 96 from Henri Chopin’s La Crevette Amoureuse (The Shrimp in Love), 1967–75, typescript and collage on paper, 11 1/2 x 8 1/4".

Henri Chopin

Supportico Lopez

Page 96 from Henri Chopin’s La Crevette Amoureuse (The Shrimp in Love), 1967–75, typescript and collage on paper, 11 1/2 x 8 1/4".

How to write about Henri Chopin? How to do justice to an artist who devoted himself to the purification of language? How to honor beautiful, brilliant works when the artist would have rejected such attributes because of their philosophical implications and when the vocabulary used to describe a “pure” practice is per se contaminated, trailing so much philosophical and ideological baggage behind it? When deconstructing language by means of language is like fighting fire with fire? Chopin (1922–2008) set out to deconstruct language as we know it, fusing sense and nonsense and transforming words into imagery. Yet his texts—perhaps better understood as textures—do convey what he meant, or meant to do.

Chopin’s project was motivated by his experience of the atrocities and terror of twentieth-century dictatorships. To the Paris-born artist, poet, curator, editor, and publisher,

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