Art of the Brick in Milan

Nathan Sawaya The Art of the Brick Milano Fabbrica del Vapore4
Bob, Janis and Jimi Lego portraits

So, I finally managed to make it to artist Natahn Saway’s Art of the Brick exhibit in Milano at La Fabbrica del Vapore, which displays 100 jaw-dropping Lego sculptures made from more than one million Lego blocks. Given the venue’s close proximity to my house, I had intended to get there sooner, but I didn’t want to feel like I was in an episode of Romper Room during the weekends and I had always had another commitment.

Nathan Sawaya The Art of the Brick Milano Fabbrica del Vapore1
Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”

A staycation was in order for the Ponte dell’Immacolata long weekend,  so Art of the Brick was my priority on 7 December (St Ambrose Day, the feast day of Milan’s patron saint). I was nervous there would be children crawling all over the place, but it was surprisingly empty. I knew I was going to enjoy Art of the Brick, but I wasn’t expecting to be emotionally moved by many of the Lego sculptures.

Of all of Sawaya’s jaw droppingly impressive Lego sculptures, the incredibly powerful human condition series has resonated the most with me. Works included: He Loves Me Not, Ascension, Despair, Hands, Mask, Gray  and My Boy. It’s amazing how Sawaya morphed each of the Lego sculptures into the embodiments of emotions and feelings. Whether it was a slouch, an upward gaze of the head or an openness, the poses had just the right shape to bring the human emotions to life.

Nathan Sawaya The Art of the Brick Milano Fabbrica del Vapore12
Our true inner self breaking free and coming out of its shell

Among the works are re-creations of famous landmarks like the Acropolis, celebrity portraits, objects and art works like American Gothic, The Starry Night, The Scream, Mona Lisa, The Girl with the Pearl Earring, Whistler’s Mother and more. The exhibit ends with a series of Lego objects that were added to photographs like an umbrella, red dress, flip flops and more.

Nathan Sawaya The Art of the Brick Milano Fabbrica del Vapore6
One of Degas’ ballerina dancers

Not to sound like a meanie, but anyone who walked away from this exhibit compelled to take to the social networks about the price like they were sharing some profound observation needs to have his or her head examined. Yes, 16 euro is high for Milan standards. We all know that. You have not shared anything new or revelatory on that front. More than one million Lego blocks have been realized into sculptures that reimagine human conditions, landmarks, objects, artworks, and more.  As far as I am concerned, all of this and the childhood nostalgia and emotions the exhibited stirred inside me rendered the price vale la pena. It was just as cool as Escher. I swear!

Through January 29 at La Fabbrica del Vapore (Via Giulio Cesare Procaccini, 4; +39 02 8844 0785)

Nathan Sawaya The Art of the Brick Milano Fabbrica del Vapore4
The artist’s biggest fear…

16 € for adults; 12 € for children 4 to 13 years-old

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Nathan Sawaya The Art of the Brick Milano Fabbrica del Vapore11
Whistler’s Mother
Nathan Sawaya The Art of the Brick Milano Fabbrica del Vapore4
A red dress that was added to a photograph

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