Dom Sylvester Houédard at Richard Saltoun Gallery: 26 May – 14 July 2017

Dom Sylvester Houédard, Typestract 711207, 1971

Richard Saltoun Gallery, London: 26 May – 14 July 2017
Private view: 6-8pm, Friday 25 May 

Dom Sylvester Houédard

Richard Saltoun Gallery presents a rare solo exhibition of the British monk Dom Sylvester Houédard, a seminal counter-culture figure of 60s London. The exhibition is the first in London in almost 50 years.

Dom Sylvester Houédard (1924 – 1992), commonly known by the name of dsh, was a remarkable man and artist: a Benedictine monk based at Prinkash Abbey, Gloucestershire, UK, who later became a pioneer of Concrete Poetry (Typewriter Art) and a cult figure of counter-culture 1960s London.

dsh’s artistic practice spanned across varying mediums, including works on paper, posters, artist books, magazines, written and abstract visual poetry. These ‘three-dimensional’ poems, known as ‘Typestracts’ were each made on standard A4 paper and typed on an Olivetti Lettera 22 mechanical typewriter. dsh also wrote extensively on art theory, spirituality and philosophy and was a respected authority on the Beat Movement.

Throughout the 60s dsh exhibited regularly at London’s ICA and was championed by renowned art historian Guy Brett of the iconic Signals Gallery London (active between 1964-1966). The Victoria and Albert Museum also held a seminal retrospective of his work in 1971, and he continued to exhibit internationally throughout the 70s, becoming a key figure of the global Concrete Poetry Movement.

dsh’s formidable reputation as a theologian and aesthete has provoked a certain mythisicm around his legacy, and his work has rarely been seen in the public sphere. His estate was bequeathed to The John Rylands Library of The University of Manchester, and the scarcity of material has made it virtually impossible to mount an exhibition until now.

The exhibition at Richard Saltoun Gallery will showcase a comprehensive collection of Typestracts produced between 1963 and 1975, with an aim to anchor dsh’s position as one of the leading influencers and visionaries of the British1960s cultural and artistic revolution.

A monograph has been published for the occasion by Ridinghouse, and is available to purchase.

There will also be an evening of performances inspired by a selection of dsh’s Onomasticons and Typestracts, curated by Nicola Simpson, researcher at Norwich University of the Arts.  Date and performers to be announced.


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