Art Of The Brick features over 75 sculptures, including ‘The Swimmer’, and runs at the Truman Brewery until April 2015
The mask: Three facial sculptures, including a self-portrait of the artist (blue)
Like many, I was a huge fan of Lego growing up. Forget dolls and playing ‘house’, I preferred to build houses, towns and goodness knows what else with Lego bricks. Now I doubt Lego has ever really fallen out of favour with children over the decades, but it certainly seems to be cooler than ever at the moment, following the release of the Lego movie earlier this year.
Following successful showings in New York, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Shanghai and Singapore, artist Nathan Sawaya’s Art Of The Brick exhibition has finally arrived in London. Running at the Old Truman Brewery until January, AOTB features over 75 sculptures made from over 1 million Lego bricks. Although I missed the launch, I went along recently with my sister (a fellow childhood Lego aficionado) to see how humble plastic bricks can be used to create pieces of art.
After watching a short video with an introduction to American artist Sawaya and his inspiration, we then started in the ‘classics’ section of the exhibition, where he had created Lego versions of iconic artwork such as Rodin’s The Thinker, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss. While it was admirable to see these recreations, we were more interested to see Sawaya’s original pieces. His creations ranged from small to huge, with information boxes detailing his inspiration, the meaning and how many bricks used. It was interesting to see contrasting size sculptures sometimes having surprisingly close number of bricks involved to make them.
The T-Rex was made using over 80,000 bricks and measures over 6 metres long
Among the recognisable pieces of Sawaya’s work ‘Yellow’, a sculpture of a male torso opening his chest to reveal bricks spilling out. My favourite was ‘The Swimmer’, which was stunningly lit in its own room, featuring only the top half of a swimmer that you would see out of the water. The pièce de résistance was the huge T-Rex, made with 80,000 bricks and measuring over six metres in length.
An exhibition for both adults and children, there is also an Interactive Zone at the end so you can make your own creation. But given Sawaya’s sculptures took over 4,188 hours to make, budding Lego artists may find their options are limited. For those looking for some nostalgia or those with an interest in art made from non-traditional materials, I can recommend checking out Art Of The Brick.
- The Art Of The Brick exhibition runs at the Old Truman Brewery from now until 12 April 2015. Tickets: Adults: £14.50-£16.50, Children under 12: £8-£9.50. Open daily, hours vary. Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, Spitalfields, E1 6QL. Nearest station: Aldgate or Shoreditch High Street. For more information, visit The Art Of The Brick website.
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