European Association for Jewish Culture 



European Association for Jewish Culture 

Second Breath


The world premiere of Second Breath was held on 27 June 2007 under the auspices of the UK Jewish Film Festival, with the support of the European Association for Jewish Culture at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in London.


Second Breath is an audio-visual portrayal of the life and work of sculptor Maurice Blik who as a child was saved from the concentration camps and arrived in England as a refugee.


A mixture of music and images, the show presents Blik’s youth using archival photographs three-dimensionalised by animation director Gemma Carrington in an original and beautiful way. Other central features include shots of Maurice Blik’s artwork and Gillian Lacey’s own footage of the forest and railway track in Eastern Germany where the artist was given back his freedom and turned back from the road to extermination. The visual show is accompanied by powerful and moving music specially composed by Alexander Balanescu and commissioned by the European Association for Jewish Culture for this project. It was performed live by the Balanescu Quartet.



        The Balanescu Quartet in performance



               Sculpture by Maurice Blik



The title Second Breath signifies the next step one takes following so major a turning point in one’s life as surviving the death camps. The producer’s main question was, what happens after one has survived? How does one continue? What happens to one’s life? As Gillian Lacey pointed out, even though a lot of artwork has been produced on the Holocaust, there has not been enough work done in portraying Holocaust survivors’ lives after they had come out of the hell of the camps: how they coped and what directions their lives took. Her emphasis is on this starting anew, this second breath that survivors took in order to be able to carry on.