When I was a child, two things really passed me by. The first was Lego. I get frustrated easily and had no patience with sorting out the various bricks by size and colour, then putting them together, following some pattern to create something that then had to be taken apart and put back in the toy box. The other thing was comic books. For a while, I used to read 2000 AD but otherwise, I was more of a Beano boy than a superhero aficionado. So possibly I was not the best person to attend the press preview of The Art of the Brick: DC Superheroes down at the Southbank Centre. However about ninety minutes after walking into the exhibition, my companion and I walked out, both pretty much having filled our phones memories with pictures and talking animatedly about the awesome things we had just seen.
For anyone that doesn’t know, The Art of the Brick: DC Superheroes is the brainchild of former lawyer, now artist, Nathan Sawaya who brings his two loves, Lego and comic books together in over 100 works of art, using over two million bricks, in various themed galleries. My personal favourite was the Fortress of Solitude Room which, not surprisingly was dedicated to Superman and included a fascinating piece with Superman battling to get through a wall made of his own elongated cape, demonstrating how people often put up their own barriers to achievement. My companion’s favourite area was Gotham, Batman obviously, which includes a life-size and working bat-light made entirely of Lego.e surface, this is an exhibition of superheroes made out of the world’s favourite toy but, when you go, make sure you look at the plaques. Along with telling you the number of bricks in the piece, they also give the viewer information of the character and why they are important to the exhibition, plus on occasion, the number of burritos consumed during construction. Each piece is superbly lit, which, combined with the nature of the material used, means that every angle produces a different effect on the piece. This is especially true with the grey kneeling Batman and the truly terrifying Joker’s head. The final gallery, The Bat Cave, really does take the breath away and I along, with many others, uttered an audible wow on entering it and seeing the amazing pièce de résistance that is the, well, I’m not going to tell you, you really need to see it.
The Art of the Brick: DC Superheroes is a fabulous exhibition that will please adults and children alike. Whatever your age, you will appreciate the work that Nathan has put in to produce this superb walk through the world of DC comics. My one criticism was the shop at the end. It’s possible that it wasn’t fully stocked when I went through but, to my mind, there was too much emphasis on Lego and DC and not enough on permanent reminders of the exhibition itself. It’s a small thing but I did feel the ‘little shop’ was a bit of a disappointment. However, as past of the overall experience of seeing DC superheroes being brought to life by the use of the little plastic brick. This is exceptional art, which combines two of the most popular non-internet based mediums in the world to entertain and inform and does it with style and grace.
Review by Terry Eastham
Artist Nathan Sawaya Returns to London with the World’s Largest LEGO® Exhibition Inspired by Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Sawaya presents more than 120 works of art, created with more than 2 million LEGO bricks. The exhibition opens on London’s South Bank on 1st March 2017
Art Of The Brick DC Super Heroes
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The Art of the Brick: DC Super Heroes
Upper Ground, London, SE1 2PP