Yay, a Lego exhibition, always makes everyone excited, but what are you expecting from the Art of the Brick?
Lots of cool Lego sculptures – check
The kids are going to have a great time gawping at the life size Lego sculptures – check
Probably not going to be anything to interest me after the tenth sculpture – actually you will be surprised!
This Lego exhibition is one for the intellect as much as it is one for just pure spectacle. Though many will, actually it’s not fair to even describe it as a Lego exhibition.
Undoubtedly there is Lego there, and lots of it, but it’s like calling a Monet exhibition – an exhibition of painting.
This is actually a collection of work by the artist Nathan Sawaya. It just so happens that he uses the medium of Lego to breathe life into his ideas. This has two main effects,
- the first that his ideas become immediately accessible to a wider audience (in this case with children) in a way that traditional sculpture hasn’t been able to replicate and
- secondly it can be misconstrued as a Lego exhibition – that in of itself may have been a direct ploy.
Okay so you haven’t come here to hear my commentary on the medium of Lego versus clay, what you want to know is ‘whether a visit to the art of the brick a worthwhile investment of your time’ and ‘will the children enjoy it?’
For both of those the answer is a resounding ‘yes’!
What you will get when you visit ‘The Art of the Brick’
I want to this post to do is to prepare you, the parent, for a day out at the Lego exhibition that you will actually look forward to you, as this exhibition will engage you as much as it will your children.
This exhibition will engage you more than the average day out.
First of all there is the marvel of seeing such create craftsmanship and attention to detail that clearly separates a Nathan Sawaya work from ours, but there is a real undercurrent in Art of the Brick that speaks about art and the human condition.
Nathan Sawaya has put together a journey through both time and the human psyche. The Art of the Brick starts of on a real intellectual high. I’ve not been to too many Lego exhibitions but I’m pretty sure not many of them would begin with a Lego homage to the Greek civilisation – well this one and does, and from this first room you have the tone set for an intellectual journey with added awe of everything being made from Lego.
Is there any better way to introduce the subject of ancient Greek history and the studies of classics than using Lego?
And this is what I really loved about this exhibition and that theme runs through it, every piece is a chance for you to talk to your child about the piece and explore their interpretations of the theme that has inspired the creation. The subject matter explores the sense of self and your place in the world and the ideas of conformity and expectation. These are all things that we need to speak with our children about – not actually post Iggle Piggle discussion – but this exhibition will give you plenty of time to bring out your child’s thoughts and feelings on this.
One of my favourite pieces was ‘Disintegration’ where the (non-touch) placard-pad displays the artist’s own commentary ‘Beware the winds of life that nibble away at your sense of self. Stay strong’.
There are actually a dozen or so similar pieces, I don’t want to post all the photos of them here as obviously it would be disrespectful to the Nathan Sawaya and The Art of the Brick organisers, also I think it would take away from your own experience and the pleasure of sharing that experience with your child.
The exhibition continues with many different types of art forms, history and ends up with a delightful look at the British contribution to civilisation. I’m not sure if the final room has been put together especially for the London tour, but it will definitely bring a wry smile, I think the artist gives a tongue in cheek nod to how the rest of the world perceives us here.
The exhibition doesn’t end here, between the final section and the gift shop themed exit there is a play area, where you can create your own Lego masterpieces and play both Xbox and PS4 versions of Lego Marvel Heroes and The Lego Movie. Be prepared for this part to actually take longer than the main part of the exhibition – I suggest feeding the children and taking them to the toilet before as normal rules apply when leaving the play area.
The Art of the Brick is at the Old Truman gallery till April 2015. It’s very well connected to both underground and overground services. Food wise, there’s plenty around, you won’t be short of options.
Tickets availble at the box office till April 2015 here http://artofthebrick.co.uk/tickets
Special thanks to Rebecca Byeers who helped sort my day out at the exhibition.