On Saturday my fiancée and I went to satisfy our inner, well let’s face it, our outer geeks at ‘The Art of the Brick®’ Exhibition currently on display at The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, London.
To say that we were excited would be a gross understatement. The pair of us were brimming over like two giddy school children – not least because the exhibit promised a stunning 20ft long LEGO® dinosaur amongst its works!
We were not disappointed. The ‘Dinosaur Skeleton’ piece is by far the most impressive sculpture I have come across, in any medium. Of course, I am biased. It is no big secret that I have a unique appreciation of all things dinosaur, which is perhaps why my fiancée chose the Dinosaur Gallery at the Natural History Museum as the backdrop for her Jurassic proposal last year; but that’s another story. The dinosaur in question here, an anatomically correct composition of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton, is constructed in its entirety from 80,020 pieces of LEGO® and it is ROARsome!
Before you even reach the ‘Dinosaurium’, however, there are a feat of fascinating, imposing and truly remarkable works of art that will quite simply blow you away. The opening exhibition space features numerous acclaimed pieces of art that have been reimagined through the eyes of Nathan Sawaya. A who’s who of art history including Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, Michelangelo’s David, Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night, and Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring to name but a few. The attention to detail in each piece is extraordinary, from the famous gaze of the Mona Lisa to the curves and pleats of the Venus de Milo; it is easy to forget that the medium here is a children’s toy. A piece of rectangular plastic – the humble LEGO® brick.
“I learned how to count to ten with the help of Sesame Street. I learned gravity thanks to my Slinky toy. Imagine a child learning art history through LEGO®!” – Nathan Sawaya
Moving through the exhibition you begin to get a feel for this artist, an ex-lawyer with a wild imagination who quit his job to play with LEGO® for a living. His sculptures range from the commonplace apple to the more complex and beautifully rendered life-size cello, complete with bow and strings, to the Solar System – a significant spherical milestone for the artist.
But perhaps the most interesting, eye-opening and emotionally surprising part of the exhibition is the section entitled ‘The Human Condition’. Several of the pieces in this gallery, along with their poignant annotations, resonated with me on a deeper, personal level. Pieces like ‘Hanging On’, ‘Cracked’ and ‘Disintegration’ were a stark reminder that although at times we may feel alone, in despair, or just downright ready to give up, we are in fact not alone. It is the nature of this thing we call ‘the human condition’ to suffer these ups and downs and we will, eventually, come out the other side.
“Haven’t we all been here, hanging on by a finger? I know I have. And though it might at first seem impossible, we usually manage to pull ourselves back up.” – Nathan Sawaya
The Art of the Brick is a wonderfully put together exhibition that quite literally has something for everyone! Whether you are an art lover, a LEGO® obsessive, a little kid (or a big one) or just a big time GEEK that loves anything remotely quirky or different (like me) Nathan Sawaya’s exhibition will not disappoint.
“The exhibition engages the child in all of us while at the same time highlighting sophisticated and complex concepts. I use LEGO® in my art because the toy is accessible. Chances are you probably don’t have a slab of marble or a ceramic kiln at home. But I bet you have some LEGO® bricks.” – Nathan Sawaya
For more information on the exhibition here in the UK and to book tickets visit: http://artofthebrick.co.uk/
Be sure to check out Nathan’s website here: http://brickartist.com/ or follow him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebrickartist, Twitter: https://twitter.com/NathanSawaya, or Instagram: http://instagram.com/nathansawaya