Chapel (Interpreter II.) 2019 | A steel silo for cattle feed from a large-scale cattle feeding facility,
transformed into a chapel for temporary placement of the monstrance from the Želiv monastery
materials: wood, drywall
Installation: Molds, Hills and Highlands – The Loners of Vysocina
8smicka Art Zone/ 8smicka Endowment Fund, Humpolec, Czech Republic
“Želivská monstrance” from the 1950s
In 1950, the Premonstrate Monastery in Želiv was attacked by
a State Secret Police Commando squad, looted and the monks
arrested. It was then transformed into an internment camp for
priests and members of religious orders. A harsh regime was
implemented in the camp, maintained by a ten-member group
of StB and guarded by thirty-five SNB officers.
In the monastery, the detainees were housed in groups of twenty
to thirty people per room, where there were constant searches
of personal belongings, and the prison officers would confiscate
items with religious subject matter. All “offenses” committed by
the clergy were severely punished, for example by reducing food
rations, restricting sleep, and stays in correction facilities. The
internees were daily forced to perform hard labor in the woods,
on construction sites, unloading freight cars, etc. Initially, religious
services were banned in the internment camp or held in secret.
(…) Despite the prison-like conditions, the camp detainees man-
aged to create a monstrance – a decorative case intended for
displaying and worshiping the consecrated host – the Eucharist.
The monstrance was probably made in a workshop where the
prisoners worked and was made from cucumber cans. The glass
used is probably the bottom of a preserving or pickling jar… The
monstrance was used for worship in the choir chapel.

Quote from a text by Miloš Doležal, curator of the exhibition Molds,
Hills and Highlands. The Loners of Vysocina, 8smicka Art Zone,
Humpolec, Czech Republic.