The Art Of The Brick: Lego Spectacular At Old Truman Brewery

M@
By M@ Last edited 37 months ago
The Art Of The Brick: Lego Spectacular At Old Truman Brewery
You'll have no doubt seen this one advertised on the tube by now. Dubbed 'Yellow', it's said to be the artist's most popular piece of work.
You'll have no doubt seen this one advertised on the tube by now. Dubbed 'Yellow', it's said to be the artist's most popular piece of work.
Londonist Silvia (she's the one on the right), interviews  Red Guy Sitting at the exit.
Londonist Silvia (she's the one on the right), interviews Red Guy Sitting at the exit.
A trio of face masks.
A trio of face masks.
Cracked. Looks impressive, but now imagine how you'd plan and build such a thing from Lego.
Cracked. Looks impressive, but now imagine how you'd plan and build such a thing from Lego.
My Boy...one of numerous pieces that deal with loss or pain.
My Boy...one of numerous pieces that deal with loss or pain.
Londonist Stu ponders a Lego Rodin.
Londonist Stu ponders a Lego Rodin.
Circle Torso, Triangle Torson, Square Torso...and the artist's own torso. (He probably won't be stood there when you visit.)
Circle Torso, Triangle Torson, Square Torso...and the artist's own torso. (He probably won't be stood there when you visit.)
Dinosaur skeleton. We dubbed him Tyrannosaurus Brix.
Dinosaur skeleton. We dubbed him Tyrannosaurus Brix.
Ascension is one of several pieces to cast impressive shadows.
Ascension is one of several pieces to cast impressive shadows.
The Fab Four have us grasping for Lego Beatles puns. I Want To Build Your Hand? Norwegian Plastic? Brick-it to Ride? We'll stop there.
The Fab Four have us grasping for Lego Beatles puns. I Want To Build Your Hand? Norwegian Plastic? Brick-it to Ride? We'll stop there.
Writer.
Writer.
Sing. The artist gets crotchety.
Sing. The artist gets crotchety.

London's seen its fair share of Lego exhibitions in recent years. So what can bricksmith Nathan Sawaya give us that we haven't seen before? Buckets of dark, playful fun that has some credibility as 'proper art', that's what.

The show opens with a decidedly awkward introductory video, filled with slick Troy McClure patter and life-affirming cliche. It all feels deeply at odds with the shabby-chic setting of Old Truman Brewery.

There are few other bum notes in this otherwise remarkable exhibition. Sawaya's creations are legion, his skills remarkable, his patience unfathomable. The first room throws up Lego recreations of ancient Greek sculpture. This is followed by plastic versions of famous canvases. A succession of chambers then offers a mix of figurative sculpture, often with surreal or macabre undertones. Bodies twist into improbable conformations; they split, elongate or — as in the main publicity image — rip themselves open. We're reminded at times of Gunther von Hagens's Body World exhibition, which the Truman Brewery hosted a decade ago.

This zoo of styrene grotesques ends on a lighter note, with a gallery of British icons. The Beatles and One Direction share space with a red phone box and Keep Calm notice. After so much brickish bodyshock, it feels like a tortured psyche finally letting his hair down.

Some might receive further shock at the price. The cheapest adult ticket is £14.50 (£16.50 if you visit at the weekend) for an exhibition that takes about 45 minutes. That cost must cover a brick shithouse of overheads, like shipping over so many delicate creations from the US and, of course, rewarding the artist for his huge time investment. Such is the popularity of Lego, and such is the calibre of the work on show, that we have no doubts they'd sell this one out at double the price. Shame, though.

The Art of the Brick is on at Old Truman Brewery from 26 September 2014 to 4 January 2015 EDIT: The exhibition has now been extended until 12 April 2015. Entrance opposite Rough Trade East, appropriately enough near Brick Lane.

Last Updated 25 September 2014

HHGeek

Would you say it's worth the price of entry?

rod doyle

Hey! Guess what!! Its LEGO,building blocks! Yes you can make things from it!! Thats what it does!! I just dont get it!! Patience yes,but please!!

Mike

Nope, not at all. Saw it in NYC and was utterly disappointed. Unoriginal, cliched and just plain boring, the only interesting thing is that it's made of Lego. You can see classics rebuild in Lego and few statues that lacks original concept or any interesting idea. Buy yourself a Lego set for the price.

Spielo

Utterly devoid of artistic merit and a complete waste of time and money. Fun for children, but embarrassingly shallow for adults. The "artist" is a horrific egomaniac, but has nothing interesting to say whatsoever.