Time Out Singapore: Nathan Sawaya’s ‘The Art of the Brick’ Review

Nathan Sawaya and one of his Brick Men. Photo courtesy of ArtScience Museum.

Nathan Sawaya and one of his Brick Men. Photo courtesy of ArtScience Museum.

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.

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