Submission
Group Show

Ora et lege

The exhibition project Ora et lege is a dialogue between contemporary art and the essence of the teachings of the Benedictines, the oldest religious order in Western Christianity. The venue of the exhibition is the Benedictine monastery in Broumov, where artists Ed Atkins, Kamilla Bischof, Jesse Darling, Liam Gillick, Martin Kohout, Florian Meisenberg and Slavs and Tatars have prepared works referring to the history, knowledge, teachings and spiritual culture of the Benedictines. The author of the project is the exhibition curator Monika Čejková, who prepared it based on her discussions with Archabbot of Břevnov, Petr Prokop Siostrzonek OSB.


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Jesse Darling, Our Lady Batman of the Empty Center (Temporary Relief), 2018 spray paint and ink on aluminum and wood, paper cup, cemetery flowers, gold leaf, finger sheaths, ECG stickers, Band-Aid wrappers, Perspex 134 × 65 × 25.5 cm courtesy of the artist and Arcadia Missa Gallery, London
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Jesse Darling, Our Lady Batman of the Empty Center (Temporary Relief), 2018 spray paint and ink on aluminum and wood, paper cup, cemetery flowers, gold leaf, finger sheaths, ECG stickers, Band-Aid wrappers, Perspex 134 × 65 × 25.5 cm detail courtesy of the artist and Arcadia Missa Gallery, London
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Ed Atkins, Untitled Anonymous, 2021 hand-engraved inscription “silence of the perpetual choire in heaven, 23 June 2041” on a wooden church pew
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Ora et lege, Kamilla Bischof, exhibition view, Broumov Monastery, 2021
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Kamilla Bischof, Geschichten aus dem Gardinenwald / Tales from the Curtain Woods, 2020 oil on canvas 150 × 180 cm courtesy of the artist and Sandy Brown Gallery, Berlin
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Kamilla Bischof, Geschichten aus dem Gardinenwald / Tales from the Curtain Woods, 2020 oil on canvas 150 × 180 cm detail courtesy of the artist and Sandy Brown Gallery, Berlin
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Kamilla Bischof, April, 2020 oil on canvas 180 x 150 cm courtesy of the artist and Sandy Brown Gallery, Berlin
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Ora et lege, Slavs and Tatars, exhibition view, Broumov Monastery, 2021
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Slavs and Tatars, Communion (Visit Iraquiam), 2021 reverse painting on glass with acrylic and synthetic paint 32 × 44 cm courtesy of the artists and Raster Gallery, Warsaw
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Slavs and Tatars, Communion (Virgin Buraq), 2021 reverse painting on glass with acrylic and synthetic paint 32 × 44 cm courtesy of the artists and Raster Gallery, Warsaw
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Slavs and Tatars, Communion (The Guarantor of the Deer), 2021 reverse painting on glass with acrylic and synthetic paint 44 × 32 cm courtesy of the artists and Raster Gallery, Warsaw
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Slavs and Tatars, Communion (Ahl al-Apostles), 2021 reverse painting on glass with acrylic and synthetic paint 32 × 44 cm courtesy of the artists and Raster Gallery, Warsaw
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Ora et lege, Liam Gillick, exhibition view, Broumov Monastery, 2021
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Liam Gillick, Three Borrowed Gray Rotations, 2021 painted lacquered MDF 65 × 50 × 50 cm (desk) 25 × 30 × 30 cm (stool) detail courtesy of the artist and Galerie Meyer Kainer, Vienna
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Ora et lege, Martin Kohout, Florian Meisenberg, exhibition view, Broumov Monastery, 2021
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Florian Meisenberg, A Room with a View (What Time Is), 2021 machine controlled permanent marker, oil on canvas 137 × 137 cm courtesy of the artist and Wentrup Gallery, Berlin
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Florian Meisenberg, A Room with a View (What Time Is), 2021 machine controlled permanent marker, oil on canvas 137 × 137 cm detail courtesy of the artist and Wentrup Gallery, Berlin
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Florian Meisenberg, Im tollen Wahn hatt ich dich einst verlassen, Ich wollte gehn die ganze Welt zu Ende, Und wollte sehn, ob ich die Liebe fände, Um liebevoll die Liebe zu umfassen. Die Liebe suchte ich auf allen Gassen, Vor jeder Türe streckt ich aus die Hände, Und bettelte um g’ringe Liebesspende – Doch lachend gab man mir nur kaltes Hassen. Und immer irrte ich nach Liebe, immer Nach Liebe, doch die Liebe fand ich nimmer, Und kehrte um nach Hause, krank und trübe. Doch da bist du entgegen mir gekommen, Und ach! was da in deinem Aug’ geschwommen, Das war die süße, langgesuchte Liebe. 2021 machine controlled permanent marker, iridescent acrylic and oil paint on canvas 127 × 127 cm courtesy of the artist and Wentrup Gallery, Berlin
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Martin Kohout, Glare, and then everything stayed the same, 2021 4K animated video loop without sound courtesy of the artist, Exile Gallery, Vienna, and Polansky Gallery, Prague
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Martin Kohout, Glare, and then everything stayed the same, 2021 4K animated video loop without sound courtesy of the artist, Exile Gallery, Vienna, and Polansky Gallery, Prague

The exhibition project Ora et lege is a dialogue between contemporary art and the essence of the teachings of the Benedictines, the oldest religious order in Western Christianity. The venue of the exhibition is the Benedictine monastery in Broumov, where artists Ed Atkins, Kamilla Bischof, Jesse Darling, Liam Gillick, Martin Kohout, Florian Meisenberg and Slavs and Tatars have prepared works referring to the history, knowledge, teachings and spiritual culture of the Benedictines. The author of the project is the exhibition curator Monika Čejková, who prepared it based on her discussions with Archabbot of Břevnov, Petr Prokop Siostrzonek OSB.

One of the first questions a contemporary art viewer might ask is why, in a secular age, hold an exhibition inspired by an ancient religious order. The answer may lie in its strong tradition linked to the activities through which the Benedictines have worked hard to develop culture and education in our country. The Benedictine order is still an important representative of spiritual and cultural memory, including values that persist to this day. Last but not least, the exhibition relates to the premises of the Benedictine monastery in Broumov itself, a historically and visually unique place, providing a specific context that is not neutral and thus co-shapes the final form of the exhibited works. Nevertheless, the project Ora et lege is an attempt at a deeper dialogue between contemporary art and the teachings of the Benedictine order. It responds to particular elements that capture the essence of the Benedictine order and various selected elements of the Catholic Church in general.

The title of the exhibition Ora et lege (pray and read) paraphrases the famous motto of Saint Benedict, ora et labora (pray and work), and represents a key factor in the selection of the exhibiting artists. These are internationally renowned artists who in addition to their fine art production have been involved for a long time in writing their own texts. The exhibition touches on topics associated with the monastery, but it also reflects a narrative turn in the visual arts, whereby authorial writing in various forms is brought to the fore, combining different literary forms and genres such as prose, poetry, drama, fiction or “uncreative writing”. Authorial writing is presented at the exhibition in the form of Liam Gillick’s book, Jesse Darling’s e-mail correspondence, the essay by Slavs and Tatars, the incorporation of writing by Kamilla Bischof into her exhibited works and by Ed Atkins into the original monastery furniture, Florian Meisenberg’s software-generated text, and Martin Kohout’s text published online during the exhibition.

The exhibition covers several thematic areas, which are not strictly defined, but rather loosely associated in the works by individual artists. One of the thematic areas could be characterized as the media revolution reflecting mimesis and medieval images – the sacred and its representation (Liam Gillick, Florian Meisenberg, Kamilla Bischof). Another area is hagiography, which has become a means for pointing out the importance of women in the Catholic Church as well as for reflecting on their unequal status in the church hierarchy as an analogy to the state of society in general (Jesse Darling, Kamilla Bischof). This is followed by the ever-present theme of interreligious dialogue in the form of a critical polemic against deep-rooted stereotypes of national identity, power, language and religion (Slavs and Tatars). The last thematic area is a secular or rather an ambiguous relationship to the Church (Ed Atkins, Martin Kohout), which on the one hand honors its tradition and history, but on the other hand prefers or professes secular humanist ideals.

The project will be realized as a site-specific exhibition on the unique historical premises of the Benedictine monastery in Broumov: in the church of St. Adalbert, its sacristy and mortuary chapel, as well as in the monastic library and in the refectory of the monastery.

Open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (June – September)
Guided tours: 3 July, 17 July, 31 July, 14 August, 28 August, 11 September and 25 September 2021
Admission: CZK 160 adults | CZK 90 children and senior citizens (to be paid on the guided tour)
The admission fee includes a printed exhibition guide.