Ian Whittlesea - Grundy Art Gallery

Ian Whittlesea - Lightboxes

Ian WHittlesea - Lightbox

Ian Whittlesea - Lightboxes




The images on the lightboxes are derived from photographs produced at The Stanley Picker Gallery (Kingston University) showing Foundation Students performing the exercises described in Mazdaznan Health & Breath Culture by Dr. Otoman Zar-Adusht Ha'nish.

In 1922 the colour theorist and teacher Johannes Itten resigned as director of the Vorkurs (Foundation Course) at the Bauhaus, his position made untenable by an increasing conflict between his mysticism and director Gropius’s move from expressionism towards a machine-age aesthetic. Itten was a devout Mazdaznan, a follower of the self-named Dr. Otoman Zar-Adusht Ha’nish and his Chicago based global religion. Ha’nish advocated a vegetarian diet, body consciousness and breathing exercises as a means of self-realisation. Many of Itten’s students converted to Mazdaznan and together they practiced the exercises advocated by Ha'nish.

The simple movements and breath control techniques were designed to activate glands and re-channel internal energies, stirring the blood in ways that contributed to the perpetual evolution of humanity. The exercises were also said to result in auto-illumination, the participants body generating light from within that would be visible to any onlooker.



Thanks to Christian Breidlid, Ezzidin Alwan & Helen McCathie for their photographic assistance and to Rosie Brunning, Ivan Robirosa, Joey Phinn, Annabelle Syms, Harry Edwards, Amelia Butlin, Olivia Wills, Sophie Flanagan, Robert Hawkins, Ailis Brennan, Hamish Pearch, Jessica Dyer, Ruby Law, Molly Maher, Harvin Alert, Sophie Ray & Nettle Grellier who took part in the workshop to practice Mazdaznan exercises.

Photographs originally commissioned by the Stanley Picker Gallery (Kingston University) supported by Arts Council England.


















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