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New York artist, Stuart Williams installed “Breath of Life/Dresden” at the historic Dresden Cathedral in tandem with the 70th anniversary observance of the bombing of Dresden in February 2015. The Cathedral appeared to "breathe" with light. A documentary film is currently in development.


© Stuart Williams 2011 – 2015. All rights reserved.
Dresden Kathedrale (Ss. Trinitatis), Dresden, Germany.

In the closing days of World War II, three days and nights of Allied bombing created a devastating firestorm which destroyed Dresden… a Baroque city of unparalleled architectural treasures. With the war’s outcome virtually a forgone conclusion, the annihilation of Dresden — Florence on the Elbe — was a profound loss to the cultural heritage of the whole world.

In homage to Dresden’s survival and renewal, and to honor the 70th anniversary observance of this iconic moment in world history, the City of Dresden welcomed Williams to install “Breath of Life/Dresden” at the historic Dresden Cathedral (Ss. Trinitatis). Williams transformed the facade with light... making the Cathedral appear to “breathe.” Waves of light, rising and falling at the pace of human breath, created the visual impression of respiration. The Dresden Cathedral was completed in 1738, and is one of Dresden’s foremost landmarks. With its prominent setting on the River Elbe, it is a key component of Dresden's historic "silhouette.” A light installation here, towering 275 feet above the heart of the city, became an artwork on the scale of the cityscape. (computer-controlled, energy-efficient, LED lighting)

Said the artist, “Given Dresden’s nearly total destruction in February 1945, I think the vision of one of its greatest historic landmarks appearing to breathe is extremely moving. In the end, it becomes an affirmation of life itself.”

Documentary Film: A documentary film about “Breath of LIfe/Dresden” is currently in development. French cinematographer, Martial Barrault, was commissioned to come to Dresden with his team to record the preparations and realization of this project, which revolves around an iconic event in world history. Under the fiscal sponsorship of the New York Foundation for the Arts, we are raising funds to complete post-production of the feature-length documentary.

The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) is the project's fiscal sponsor.
All donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

Current Donors (among others):

The U.S. Embassy, Berlin (U.S. Consulate, Leipzig)
City of Dresden, Mayor's Office
Dresden Sister City, Inc.
An Anonymous Foundation in New York
Columbus Sister Cities International
Hotel Taschenbergpalais, Dresden
Westin Bellevue, Dresden
Stagelight, Coesfeld, Germany
Numerous private individuals (U.S. and Germany)


City of Dresden, Mayor's Office
City of Dresden, Department of Culture and Heritage
The Free State of Saxony
Dresden Kathedrale Ss. Trinitatis
U.S. Embassy, Berlin
U.S. Consulate, Leipzig
Buckingham Palace, London
President Obama, The White House
The Dresden Trust, London
The Bishop of Coventry, UK
Volkswagen Corp. Headquarters
The German Consulate, New York
Deutsches Haus, New York University
The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, Indianapolis
Taubman College of Architecture, University of Michigan

Artist's Website
“Breath of Life/Dresden”
View Brief Video Clip
Interview with the Artist

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