The Art of the Brick

My boyfriend isn’t a museum kind of guy. But I finally succeeded in dragging him to see an exhibition. I was quite surprised that he agreed to go without knowing what we were going to see. I just told him that I was sure he would enjoy. I could have tricked him and chosen to see an exhibition that he would have found boring and dull but there wouldn’t have been a point, as he would never ever have followed me again to a museum. Therefore, I chose to bring him to a cool exhibition, a Lego exhibition! Yes indeed! At that point, you need to know that my boyfriend is an AFOL. Never heard of it before? AFOL stand for Adults Fan of Lego. And it’s more than a community, it’s a sub-species of humans!

Who never had Lego as a child? I hope you all had or you definitely missed a part of your childhood! Since 1949, Lego has allowed many generations of children to play and develop their imagination in a fun way by giving them the ability to create anything they wanted.
Some kids never stopped playing, like Nathan Sawaya and some rediscovered Lego many years after, like my boyfriend.
Fortunately, my boyfriend is sensible enough to understand that we don’t live in a mansion where he can build and display all the Lego sets he buys. He basically stores the boxes and only removes the figurines out of them. So we have a large collection of figurines in our room, standing over MY cupboard, which is apparently steadier than his. I’m not too sure about that but I don’t really care because I find it kind of funny. But I also don’t care if some of them fall when I open and close my cupboard and I sometimes use them to blackmail my boyfriend when I need…

But let’s go back to the exhibition. It’s called “The Art of the Brick” and it’s actually showing until the 4th of January 2015 at The Old Truman Brewery in …. Brick Lane. There couldn’t be a better place!

The person behind it is the American modern artist Nathan Sawaya. But nobody is born artist. So, as he didn’t really had faith in his artistic capacities but really felt the societal pressure, we went to University and became a successful corporate lawyer for a few years. However, his life wasn’t fulfilled. Money doesn’t buy happiness.

Unlike many of us who hit the gym to release the pressure, he needed an artistic activity.
This is how he started to write contracts at day and create Lego sculptures at night. Seeing that his creations encountered a great success, he, one day, finally found the courage to quit his job to become a full-time artist.
Nathan Sawaya thought of Lego like a new medium to make art, which universality made it easy to connect with people of all ages and all over the world.
After many years of practice, he doesn’t only represent objects anymore but has reached a level where he can really express emotions and feelings.
The exhibition itself gathers more than 80 pieces of art, very different in style and in size. Here are some of my favourites, for you to make an idea and give you the desire to see the rest.
David, Michelangelo
The Kiss, Gustav Klimt
The Scream, Edvard Munch (my favourite)
Self-portrait of Nathan Sawaya
At the end of the exhibition, my boyfriend and I had a debate. Even if he really enjoyed the exhibition (Youhou! One point for me!), he didn’t really understand all the fuss about it. He had seen many people using Lego to create amazing structures that aren’t famous. And I tried to explain him that, for me, his brilliant idea was to use such a simple medium not to reproduce an object or a scene (everybody can more or less do that) but to express his own vision and sensitivity.
It made me realised that there are 2 ways to see and understand this exhibition: like my boyfriend, with the eyes of a kid, emphasizing the toy aspect or like me, with the eyes of an adult (OMG, I can’t believe I just said that!), emphasizing the art aspect.

No matter the way you’ll see it, I’m sure you’ll love it. So whether with or without kids, just go.                                                                                        

After the exhibition, I will advise you to stay in the area to wander around   looking for street art or/AND to take a seat in any of the nice independent and cozy coffee shops that run along Brick lane.

For those not in London, have the look here to see if there is or will be an exhibition close to you. 

The Art of the Brick
The Old Truman Brewery
91 Brick Lane
London E1 6QL

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