At the age of 81, Jasper Johns continues to invent visual forms and modes of representation. Fragment of a Letter, 2009 confirmed his tenacity through a pleasing combination (apprehension of which improved with
Fragment of a Letter has on the left a sign language translation of a letter from Vincent van Gogh to his friend, the artist Émile Bernard and, on the right, the printed text. The letter in sign language becomes a kind of visual puzzle. The use of this alternate alphabet represents a new engagement on the part of the artist - a reworking of his recurring handprint (which appears in the diptych) and a testament to his continued experimentation at this phase of his career. Johns has appropriated these hand signs as a new, malleable vocabulary with which to again challenge expected and straightforward meaning within his work.