Many of us used to play Lego in our childhood, I got my first colorful bricks when I was 6 or 7, and what I could do with them at that time was either some unusual car (because it had 4 wheels) or very futuristic model house that I quickly disassembled. I grew up, I got new toys and these colorful bricks are sadly forgotten in some old box. One day I opened the box, not much bricks left in there, some lost, some broken and I never touched them again!
The exhibition “The Art of the Brick” by the “brick-artist” Nathan Sawaya was open at Parc des Expositions in Paris, in summer of 2015, when I was there for my study at Le Cordon Bleu. I decided to visit the exhibition, to see the colorful bricks again and greatly surprised by all his works.
The key piece in the exhibition is Yellow, a life-sized self-portrait of the artist exposing and sharing himself with the world. It is a powerful example of the vulnerability and rawness in the artist’s work. The figure is not only tearing itself apart but building a new as well.
The American artist amazingly takes a children’s toy and turns it into high art. Standing in front of his works, I was wondering “How can he do it ? with standard Lego toy bricks?” Lego may provide him with special bricks ? Anyway Nathan Sawaya is the only person ever to be recognized as both a LEGO Master Builder and a LEGO Certified Professional.
Many brick-works based on famous artworks either in painting or sculpture. Kids around me, seemingly enjoyed the display, they look carefully, admiring, hopefully they will be inspired and back home they will care of the bricks much better than I.
According to the artist “My worst day as an artist is still better than my best day as a lawyer.” To him legos are accessible, and therefore very inspirational. Anyone can go home and start building with them.
So impressive and awe inspiring are the works, that the artist elevates and transcends the little plastic pieces. The below is one of my favorites, hard to believe the dress made by these tiny plastic bricks but looks so graceful.
The artist’s sculptures of people are especially moving and thought provoking. He shows people in a state of transition or metamorphosis – exploring and questioning themselves and their lives, and powerful themes such as grief and doubt.
And once you are raised up, where is that you go?
The idea of ascension, going to a higher place without first experiencing death, is something I wanted to explore…’ Nathan Sawaya
It took the artist three months to complete the skeleton, he’s also learned the hard way that he must glue together all the single bricks in a sculpture.
One of the artist’s statements “Art makes better humans, art is necessary in understanding the world and art makes people happy. Undeniably, art is not optional” to end my post today. With some emotions I left the exhibition, it brought me back to the past when being a little boy, playing with these colorful bricks and I never imagine what people can do with them! Such an inspirational show!
Many of my curious questions have been answered in this video! Please check and enjoy!