Last weekend I managed to get myself along to the penultimate day of the Art of the Brick exhibition showcasing the works of Lego artist Nathan Sawaya.
It’s something we (me, the wife, and the little one) have been meaning to go to for ages and we finally got ourselves (pushchair and all!) up to the Truman Galleries off Brick Lane to see the Lego works in all their glory!
Dreams are built… one brick at a time
The whole exhibition is superb and there are far more pieces than I had imagined that there would be.
Although it seems like there’s a lot of photos here, I could have put up so many more. This is really just a glimpse of some of my favourite pieces from the exhibition.
The ceiling of the Sistene Chapel
Venus de Milo
The large sculptures are extremely impressive, it’s hard to believe some of them are even made of Lego. Nathan also has created a number of 2D pieces which, in many ways, are more remarkable (please excuse the photo quality, there’s only so much you can manage carrying a 4month old!).
Built up using the side of bricks they use colour and tone to convey the image. Some are recognisable works of art built up in a relief of 2D and 3D to create depth, and others look like artistic patterns only to sync into a visible image when you take a step back.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa
close up 3D detail
The Starry Night
The exhibition had break out spaces showing videos whiched offered a fascinating insight into how Nathan works. From developing sketches to often chiselling apart large sections of a sculpture to redo them. Plus a view of his superbly organised Lego workspsace of which I am completely jealous of!
Some of the animal sculptures are remarkably lifelike. Well, not like I thought “woah, there’s a dog in here“, but scaled up from the sort of sizes we play with Lego at home you start to blur the blocky edges and lose the square corners.
Curves and rounded shapes all of a sudden are possible and your eye interprets it as a whole new form.
Our daughter making friends with the polar bear!
An infinite knot
Hands are notoriously difficult to draw, I can’t even imagine how many attempts and amendments went into this giant Lego version!
The integration of technology and humans
The swimmer sculpture was also particularly good. Lit using a textured gobo projector it mimics the water ripples and, with the model’s reflection in the glass table top, creates a very powerful illusion of swimming. Lots of people, me included, actually looked under the table and were surprised to see a distinct lack of Lego!
Although you weren’t allowed to touch the sculptures (understandably!) there was nothing stopping you from posing with them.
The resemblance is uncanny!
One of my favourites was the T-Rex skeleton comprising of some 80,000-odd pieces. Stunning.
Some clever pieces even needed a particular viewpoint before it became clear what you were looking at.
The added benefit of attending the exhibition so late in the calendar was that they had added an additional gallery called In Pieces, a wonderfully playful collaboration with Dean West of Lego items hidden in plain sight of some quite brilliant photographic scenes .
Suspended bricks complete the floating illusion
CNN said that the exhibition was in the “top ten of must see global exhibitions”, and you can definitely see why.
One of many tables in the gift shop!
Having just been inspired by approximately 1.5million Lego bricks through the whole show, and a short play in the gift shop, I then headed off to the Lego store to treat myself!
If you ever get the chance to see any of Nathan Sawaya‘s work I highly recommend it!