Last week I attended the press viewing of Nathan Sawaya’s exhibition THE ART OF THE BRICK. It was incredible. The exhibition had a successful run in Madrid. Now, Londoners have the opportunity to see Sawaya’s incredible work, in its purpose built gallery on London’s South Bank behind the national Theatre and BFI. THE ART OF THE BRICK is a superb exhibition that seamlessly brings pop art and surrealism together in a way that little kids and ‘bigger kids’ will enjoy.
In THE ART OF THE BRICK Nathan Sawaya (lawyer turned artist) presents more than 120 works of art. Sawaya is the first artist to use Lego bricks as a medium. The detail in his sculptures is breath-taking. As a non-artist and parent, I appreciate the way he shares his work process with us. Lego enthusiasts budding artists alike can take away pointers. As for me, I soon realised how much I didn’t know about DC comic characters. There’s an entire pantheon of super heroes and super villains that I knew nothing about. I was thrilled to find out that there are super other heroes of colour, beyond Bumble Bee. THE ART OF THE BRICK features: Victor Stone (Cyborg), John Stewart (Green Lantern), Detective John Jones (Martian Manhunter) and Mari Jiwe McCabe (Vixen).
I admired Sawaya’s representation of female super heroes and villains. Along with Vixen, he included: Black Canary, Hawk Girl, Bat Girl, Cat Woman, Haley Quinn, Starfire and Wonder Woman of course one of the founders of the Justice League. As a little girl Wonder Woman (Diana Prince) was one of my favourite superheroes. It was inspirational to see strong female character on the tele. I admired her style, beauty and fighting skills. In THE ART OF THE BRICK Starfire, the alien princess, stands firm arms akimbo, like many of the superheroes showing strength and balance. While super villains Haley Quinn sits peaceful in a yoga-like position and Catwoman is set to pounce, in the ‘DC Dark’ collection. Heroes and villains hold their own in the exhibition.
Sawaya’s musings in ‘Constructing A Hero’ struck a chord with me. Throughout the exhibition Sawaya uses dark, light and shadows with great effect to explore themes good vs evil, strength and weakness, duality. Superman the angel, ascending into the sky while below the shadow is it a beaching figure or someone praising the angel. The use of blue light in Fortress of Solitude is at once magical, mystical and reverent. Wonder Woman is stylish in her civilian clothes in ‘Thermyscira’ while in ‘The Icons’ she’s her true self, Amazonian goddess-princess. She stands larger than life before her temple. While the severely wounded Victor Stone is transformed into the part man part machine Cyborg is he better or worse of for it? We’re encouraged to look inwards. Sawaya asks, ‘what kind of hero will you be’. Dare I say parents are the first superheroes a child will meet? Looking to the future, little patrons are also challenged to look outside of themselves. How they can make they make a difference.
As it often is with contemporary exhibitions what we glean from it is influenced by our world view. I think you simply must see THE ART OF THE BRICK because:
- It’s inclusive
- Inspires creativity
- It thought-provoking
The Art of the Brick: DC Super Heroes exhibition is not to be missed. It’s an excellent day out for for all in the family, friends, or past part of a romantic day by the river Thames. The gallery is close to attractions like Coca-Cola London Eye, Sea Life London Aquarium and London Dungeon. Tickets can be purchased from the website http://www.aotbdc.co.uk/