Exhibition: Catch your breath

This exhibition runs from Fri, 17th May 2019 to Fri, 20th Sep 2019. See all dates

This event runs over several days/weeks. Dates include:

Thu,
22nd Aug 2019  
(9am - 5pm)
Fri,
23rd Aug 2019  
(9am - 5pm)
Mon,
26th Aug 2019  
(9am - 5pm)
Tue,
27th Aug 2019  
(9am - 5pm)
Wed,
28th Aug 2019  
(9am - 5pm)
Thu,
29th Aug 2019  
(9am - 5pm)
Fri,
30th Aug 2019  
(9am - 5pm)

Cost: Free of Charge


Breathing is so much more than simply biology. From babies’ first cries to our final dying gasps, breath is our constant companion on the journey through life.

This new exhibition draws on art, philosophy, anthropology, medicine, history and literature to demonstrate the unique role of respiration in human life and culture.

Combining research from the ‘Life of Breath’ project led by the universities of Durham and Bristol with contemporary artworks, and alongside objects from the Royal College of Physicians’ amazing 500-year old collections, these new displays vividly convey how breathing is not simply a bodily function, but a force that allows us to speak, laugh and sing.

In the UK today one in five people has breathing difficulties or respiratory illness. In fact, respiratory disease is the third biggest cause of death in the country. Yet, despite this startling reality, to many people breathlessness as a condition is – like the air - invisible.

Seeking to break through this silence and stigma, the exhibition brings together the voices of patients and clinicians through time, speaking to the vital importance of breath itself and the atmosphere we all share.

From an Italian Renaissance Bible to a Victorian edition of Charles Dickens’ classic novel ‘Bleak House’. An 18th century medicine jar that once contained ‘dried fox lungs’ to a 21st century cyclist’s breathing masks. From one of the earliest ever stethoscopes to the moving and graphic account of a young man caring for his father in the final stages of illness. A pipe of peace to an advertisement for ‘asthma cigarettes’. The incredibly diverse objects on show relate how breath can contain profound social and spiritual meaning, as well as being a marker of both health and illness.

Occasionally harrowing, often hopeful, never less than intriguing and frequently inspiring ‘Catch your breath’ reflects on the ways in which we experience breathing and breathlessness, how doctors have diagnosed and treated the diseases which cause distress, and how artists and writers have sought to capture this most fundamental of human actions.

The exhibition seeks to raise our consciousness of breath and breathlessness, to tackle the stigma that surrounds breathing problems and place this universal act - that defines human life and yet so often goes unnoticed by so many – in the forefront of our minds.


Contact and Booking Details

More information at this website.

No need to book tickets - just turn up on the day.


Location

Royal College of Physicians Museum,

11 St Andrews Place, London,
NW1 4LE

Google Map of Royal College of Physicians Museum