The second round of the Ora et lege (Pray and Read) project at the Broumov Monastery will present the work of the Benedictine monk and prominent British neo-avant-garde artist, Dom Sylvester Houédard (1924–1992). Also known under the pseudonyms “dsh” or “dom”, he was widely recognized during his lifetime as one of the leading theorists and important representatives of concrete poetry. His solo exhibition entitled endlessly inside is his first in the Czech Republic and one of the projects bringing his unjustly forgotten work back into cultural awareness. The exhibition will include a series of performances by other leading artists associated with concrete poetry as it is reflected today.
Houédard is a unique figure in the history of modern art, with a life and cultural background that is difficult to grasp, straddling the divide between London’s counterculture and the enclosure of the Benedictine monastery at Prinknash Abbey in Gloucestershire. He was a concrete poetry pioneer in the UK, and during his lifetime he was recognized as a leading theorist and major representative of the New Poetry movement at the intersection of visual art and literature. This developed simultaneously in many parts of the world from the 1950s onwards, and its golden age ended during the 1970s.
The solo exhibition endlessly inside features approximately 60 works in three sections, representing Houédard’s interests in theology, Eastern religion (especially Tantric Buddhism), avant-garde art and socio-political events of the time. The opening section focuses on abstract typograms called Typestracts (combining the words “typewriter” and “abstract”) – works created on an Olivetti 22 typewriter using blue, red, or black ink ribbons. The following section presents Laminate Poems and Cosmic Dust Poems, which Houédard started to create in about 1966. This series of poetic objects consists of small found objects of either natural or man-made materials sealed in transparent, often colored plastic film. The last section of the exhibition, situated in the library of the Broumov Monastery, is devoted to Houédard’s books and his activities with the publishing house Openings Press, which he co-founded together with John Furnival in 1964 and where he was active until the late 1960s. Openings Press published a number of poems by acclaimed authors of concrete and visual poetry and their collaborators included the Czech artist Jiří Valoch, whose work for Openings Press is featured in this exhibition.
The second round of the Ora et lege (Pray and Read) project will also include a series of performances following up on the exhibition The Palace of Concrete Poetry, which was held as part of the Ora et lege project at the Writers’ House of Georgia in Tbilisi (9 September – 13 October 2022). That exhibition featured the pioneers of concrete poetry and their successors from subsequent generations.
On the opening day of the Broumov exhibition, Secondary Information by Pavel Büchler and The Fragiles by Barbara Kapusta will be performed in the monastery. For the first time, selected Grammar Texts by Bohumila Grögerová and Josef Hiršal from the book of experimental texts JOB–BOJ (1960–1962) will be presented in performance, in collaboration with the director Jiří Adámek Austerlitz. At the same time, on the day of the opening there will be a lecture, “On the Radiophonic Works of Ferdinand Kriwet”, by the poet, Germanist and translator Pavel Novotný. It will focus on Ferdinand Kriwet’s composition Apollo America from 1969 and will be followed by a presentation of the work.
In the fall, as part of Prague Art Week, there will be a reprise of the performances of selected texts by Grögerová (23 September 2023) and a lecture by Novotný on Kriwet’s work (22 September 2023) at the Museum of Czech Literature. Two performances of Fight! and Speech! by the British artist Janice Kerbel in the National Gallery Prague at the Convent of Saint Agnes of Bohemia (24 September 2023) will be followed by a debate with the artist.
Monika Čejková, curator
The picture comes from an unknown author and is taken from the Emmaus Benedictine magazine Pax, 1929, vol. 4, p. 162. It was used, even in other years, as a graphic separation of individual articles. Original dimensions: 37 × 28 mm.
Opening: 24 June 2023
The exhibition is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm as part of the Broumov Monastery tour. Admission fee to the tour:
CZK 220 adults
CZK 130 students
CZK 190 senior citizens.
The exhibition guide can be purchased for CZK 60.
22 July 2023 at 2:30 pm
6 August 2023 at 10:30 am
3 September 2023 at 10.30 am
16 September 2023 at 2.30 pm
Guided tour with
12 August 2023 at 12.30 pm
CZK 250 adults
CZK 150 students and senior citizens (to be paid at the guided tour).
The admission fee includes a printed exhibition guide.
The exhibition is organized by the Broumov Educational and Cultural Centre, a non-profit organization founded in 2013 by the Broumov Region Development Agency. Through cultural, educational, and community activities, the agency helps to promote the life of the Broumov Monastery, a national cultural monument, and is a celebrated European institution that encourages creativity, self-confidence, and tolerance.
The Ora et lege project is presented under the auspices of the Archabbot of Břevnov and Broumov, Petr Prokop Siostrzonek OSB. The exhibition Dom Sylvester Houédard: endlessly inside is held under the auspices of Dom Stephen Horton OSB, Prinknash Abbey.
The realization of the exhibition is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the State Cultural Fund of the Czech Republic, the Hradec Králové Region, the Embassy of Germany, the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Museum of Czech Literature, National Gallery Prague, Broumov 2028, SI Corporate Finance and Hobra-Školník. Media partners are the Host magazine, ProPamátky, Czech Radio Hradec Králové and Naše Broumovsko.
Jiří Adámek, William Allen, Caterina Berardi, Oldřich Bystřický, Niamh Coghlan, Sharon Essor, Ariel Finch, Zdeněk Freisleben, Ed Howat, Michalea Jacobsenová, Veronika Lindová, Gustav Grandal Montero, Radka Neumannová, Pavel Novotný, Matt O'dell, Jana Písaříková, Richard Saltoun, Costanza Simonini, Martin Sluka, Aleksandra Sitarska, Vladimír Uhlík, Klára Voskovcová
Lisson Gallery London, Richard Saltoun Gallery London and Rome, William Allen Word & Image London, Moravian Gallery in Brno
+420 773 549 160
Klášterní 1, 550 01 Broumov
25 June – 24 September 2023
Dom Sylvester Houédard
Pavel Büchler, Bohumila Grögerová, Barbara Kapusta, Janice Kerbel, Ferdinand Kriwet
Monika Čejková, Dom Stephen Horton, Nicola Simpson, Jonathan P. Watts
Petra Jelínková, Vladimíra Šefranka Žáková
Eva Hrubá, Martin Pavlis
Education and Accompanying Program