“What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say LEGO?”
I’m pretty sure that most of you will picture themselves as children having fun and getting creative during your playtime trying to build something out of the legendary bricks.
I loved (and still do love) LEGOs and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t?
Even though my childhood is pretty much over (at least from an age point of view) I still found myself playing with my nephews’ bricks and loving it. Perhaps one day, when I’ll have an house to return to again, I’ll get my own LEGO and try to create something special rather than just simple houses, towers and similar.
In fact there is someone who can make art out of the most world famous bricks and in a very successful way. I think that if New York-based artist Nathan Sawaya saw my ‘creations’ and compared them to his amazing pieces, he might actually give me some tips and directions just out of pity.
Dale is also a massive LEGO’s fan, probably more than myself, so when we heard of ‘The Art of the Brick’ exhibition whilst in Singapore, without thinking twice, we decided to go and visit it.
The exhibition was held at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, which was another reason to go to explore the vibrant and unique architecture of the museum itself and the rest of the area around, but I’ll leave that story for another time.
For the very first time in Southeast Asia, Nathan Sawaya showcased what at that time was his largest exhibition of 52 large-scale LEGO sculptures.
As soon as we stepped inside the exhibition’s space we were surrounded by LEGO bricks. You should have seen Dale’s excited face, he literally was over the moon.
We soon found ourselves immersed in a completely different dimension thanks also to the lighting and sound effects carefully chosen to enhance the whole experience. We realized that recreating buildings and cities with LEGO ourselves was – without taking anything away from the effort used to make them – something very ordinary compared to what was exhibit in front of our eyes.
In fact Sawaya’s creations have something extra and are the example that a simple toy like the LEGO bricks can be transformed in contemporary art.
As we walked through the 8 sections of the exhibition I became more and more fond of the work of this New York-based perfectionist.
My favorite piece ‘Ascension’ was displayed in the Emotion Box section which was very silent, dark and smokey. The setting wasn’t done casually, in fact some pieces here represent the artist’s career switch from when he was an auspicious lawyer to a full time artist making his hobby a full time job.
I’m sure many artists face the same dilemma and live the uncertainty of what will come by choosing a less ‘stable’ career.
The ‘Ascension’ is a fairly small sculpture of only 7,124 LEGO blocks (still a lot if you ask me) that captured my attention straight away. I like how it goes really well with its shadows, its color, how its perfectly shaped and curved and also its meaning:
‘What will lift you up? Love? Faith? Success?
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…’
The last section is the Play and Build area where it’s possible to play and finally handle some of these colorful bricks. You’ll be surprise how many adults are sitting there together with children.
There are other interactive zones where you can ‘brick’ your own image for instance or painfully walk on the reflexology path made of LEGO or design your own sculpture with the write and wipe boards available.
I personally think that what makes ‘The Art of the Brick’ a success is that it’s very enjoyable by both children and adults. We would recommend checking it out because pictures don’t really do justice.
Unfortunately if you are in Singapore now you won’t be able to see this exhibition anymore as it finished in April 2013 and was moved to New York City at Discovery Times Square. It will be on until January 5th 2014 apparently displaying new and never seen pieces.