Dom Sylvester Houédard


Widely recognised as a leading theorist and international practitioner of concrete poetry, Dom Sylvester Houédard (1924–1992) is firmly rooted in Lisson Gallery’s early history, with his first solo exhibition held at the gallery during its inception in 1967.

A practicing Benedictine priest and noted theologian, Houédard, also known by his initials ‘dsh’ or ‘the Dom,’ wrote extensively on new approaches to art, spirituality and philosophy, and collaborated with artists such as Gustav Metzger, Yoko Ono and John Cage.

Born, Pierre-Thomas-Paul Joseph in 1925 in Guernsey, he worked as a military intelligence officer during the war, before joining the community at Prinknash Abbey in Gloucestershire in 1949, becoming ordained as a Benedictine monk a decade later. Houédard OSB (Order of Saint Benedict) went on to help introduce concrete poetry to Britain in 1961.

Houédard was literary editor of the Jerusalem Bible from 1961-66 and founded the Gloucestershire Ode Construction Company in 1967. He published prodigiously and lectured at the Royal College of Art and the Destruction in Art Symposim (DIAS) among other venues.

The poet showed his work at Lisson Gallery, London (consistently between 1967-70); the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London, (1965); the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), London (1971); and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1972).

This catalogue includes essays written by Laura Mclean Ferris and Jonathan P. Watts, as well as contributions by Matt O’dell, Hana Noorali, Nicolas Logsdail, Nicola Simpson and Charles Verey.

Published on the occasion of the exhibition, Dom Sylvester Houédard at Lisson Gallery, New York (2 May – 16 June 2018).

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