This week, the Grundy Art Gallery welcomed its new and illuminating exhibition Breath of Life by Ian Whittlesea in which a breathing bulb lights up fourteen drawings and is ‘alive’ for 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Ian was inspired by Mazdaznan, a cultist movement in the late nineteenth century. The founder of Mazdaznan, was the self-styled Dr. Otoman Zar- Adusht Ha’nish and the cult was followed up until the 1940s. Mazdaznan also inspired many followers such as the epic futurist writer H.G.Wells, philosopher Frederick Nietsche, and breakfast cereal creator J.H.Kellogg. Thomas Edison is said to be have been influenced by the Mazdaznan teachings and is said to have named the first bulb invented, the Mazda, in its honour.

Insprired by this background, Ian Whittlesea has created an exhibition to brighten our senses and illuminate the Grundy Art Gallery with a single ‘breathing’ light bulb for the coming weeks. The iconic single Mazda light bulb will hang in the rotunda gallery space where it will glow to an intense brightness andl then fade back to black, in a pulsating and rhythmic manner.

Whilst the Mazda bulb is alight, it will shed light on fourteen drawings. The drawings have been produced by Whittlesea and depict students undertaking Mazdaznan breathing exercises. Three lightbox photographs will also appear alongside the drawings in the foyer of the Grundy. The relationship between the drawings and photographs is taken from the influence of Mazdaznan on the famous Bauhaus Foundation School students in 1930s Germany who were taught by John Itten the same techniques taught in Mazdaznan.

Blackpool Councillor Christine Wright, cabinet member for culture and heritage, says of the exhibition, “To truly appreciate the exhibition, you really need to come in to the gallery and take a look at the drawings and photographs, and I hope that people will come and visit”.

Breath of Life runs until Saturday 14 March 2015.  There will be a FREE artist’s talk on Saturday 14 March at 2.30pm. Although tickets are free they must be booked by calling the Grundy on 01253 478170 or by emailing the Grundy at [email protected].


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    Local artist, (painting, drawing, collage, and occasional photography, (for reference), of landscape, and abstract, in oil, acrylic, and any other medium which captures my imagination. Contributor, and writer for altBlackpool. Collector, of sometimes anything, but mostly pot, and ceramics.

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