The Art Of The Brick
Review of an exhibition about contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya
Venue: ArtScience Museum, Singapore
This exhibition was a visual delight of artworks the lawyer-turned-artist built using LEGO bricks as his medium. The scale and complexity of the ‘sculptures’ can sometimes take Nathan weeks of painstaking planning and patience.
The artist explains: ‘There is no idea that cannot be expressed with LEGO. As an artist, LEGO is a great medium to create anything I can imagine. I still use those same rectangular plastic bricks that I had as a child, but now I try and use them in a way that hasn’t been seen before’.
Here are a few examples of my favourite pieces of work from the exhibition with their associated explanations written by the artist underneath the montage of images. In some cases, the descriptions are as thought-provoking as the artworks themselves.
Yellow. Probably my best-known piece. Yellow always draws a lot of attention from adults as well as children. Why? I think we grown-ups appreciate how cathartic ‘opening oneself up to the world’ can be for our souls. And the kids? Probably because yellow guts spilling onto the floor looks cool. For me, this piece is about the metamorphosis I have been through on my journeys.
Disintegration. Beware the winds of life that nibble away at your sense of self. Stay strong.
Untitled. When children want to be invisible, they simply hold their hands over their eyes, making it so they can’t see the world. Then they reason that the world can’t see them either. Sometimes we keep using this trick, even when we grow up.
An Artist’s VIew. Where does the real world end and the artist’s world begin? Sometimes when I’m working, it can feel like the truth lies in the work itself and my surroundings fade away to grey.
Wall. Walls go up. They separate, divide and segregate. But even the biggest and baddest walls come down eventually. Walls are no match for the human spirit.
Grasp. No matter where your heart wants to lead you, there will be hands that try to hold you back. Life’s challenge is to find the strength to break free. I created this sculpture in response to so many people telling me ‘No’ in my life. I wanted to break free of those people.
Mask. Masks are used by just about every culture on the planet. They keep things hidden and show only the face we want others to see. I built Mask as a reflection of revealing our true selves. So often we put on a different face and then can no longer identify our own self. Mask identifies the facade we hide behind.
Writer. Let your big ideas flow. When you let your creativity loose, be it in writing, art, music or whatever, your ideas take on a life of their own. So take those big ideas and set them free.