Ian Whittlesea - Grundy Art Gallery

Ian Whittlesea - Lightboxes

Ian WHittlesea - Lightbox

Ian Whittlesea - Lightboxes




Ian Whittlesea - Breath is Life
Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool
17th January - 14th March 2015


In the late nineteenth century the self-styled Dr. Otoman Zar-Adusht Ha'nish founded Mazdaznan, a quasi-religious movement of vegetarian diet and body consciousness, which flourished across the USA and Europe until the 1940's.

The breathing exercises that Mazdaznan advocated are believed to have inspired a variety of figures including Nietzsche, H.G. Wells and J. H. Kellogg. Thomas Edison is also said to have been deeply influenced by its teachings and to have named the first light bulb Mazda in its honour.

Drawing on this, Whittlesea presents a single Mazda bulb hanging in the centre of the rotunda gallery that repeatedly fades up to an intense brightness and back down to black. 'A Breathing Bulb' continues to slowly pulse for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until the end of the exhibition, illuminating the Grundy and making it seem like a living being.

Alongside the bulb will be a series of 14 drawings of art students undertaking Mazdaznan breathing exercises.

Artist Johannes Itten was a devout Mazdaznan and taught the exercises to students at the Bauhaus, the renowned art school founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar Germany, and three light boxes in the downstairs foyer illuminate photographs of contemporary foundation art students from Kingston University performing the same movements.

Join the artist for informal drinks on Friday 16 January 6-8pm, also a final chance to see our exhibition 'Haunted House'. Free, no booking required.

ARTIST TALK: 14 March 2.30pm. FREE but please book your place by calling The Grundy on 01253 478170 or email: grundyartgallery@blackpool.gov.uk


The images in this exhibition are derived from a group of 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. 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 & drawings originally commissioned by the Stanley Picker Gallery (Kingston University) supported by Arts Council England.


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