9 Nov 2012: As one of only 13 Lego-certified professionals in the world, New York-based artist Nathan Sawaya, 39, demonstrates how he earned the prestigious title with this 52-piece exhibition – the largest show he’s ever put on. Originally a lawyer, Sawaya became a full-time artist when his brick-themed hobby website got so many hits that it crashed. And the rest is history.
A wide range of items are on display here, from the instantly recognisable ‘Yellow’ (which is used on all the promo posters, book covers and even backs of jackets) to a six meter-long T-Rex skeleton, plus several life-sized human figures and a 160,000-brick model of the ArtScience Museum. A selection of 2D ‘Lego paintings’ are also on show in the Portrait Room, featuring well-known personalities such as Alfred Hitchcock as well as Sawaya’s financeé, Courtney, using only three colours. Notably, the bricks used are all standard Lego blocks – none are customised ones – an activity room at the end allows visitors to try their hand at an original creation.
The exhibition itself is divided into eight sections; each one is creatively curated and gives out its own distinctive vibe with the aid of sound effects and lighting. The Emotion Box is an especially interesting space, with a curtain of mist constantly shrouding the colourful creations – which features figures grappling with darker themes of death, entrapment and loneliness.
In another room, as a wink to those who have experienced the excruciating pain of stepping on the bricks, Sawaya has also created a Reflexology Path, which guests are invited to try at their own peril.
The most successful aspect of this exhibition is that it really is a true joy for both children and adults, as Sawaya has managed to turn this very basic and simple medium into beautiful, complex and thought-provoking works of art. We would thoroughly recommend checking this one out.