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‘The Art of the Brick’ touring exhibition has arrived in London. The collection includes re-imagined versions of some of the world’s most famous art masterpieces, such as Michelangelo’s David, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring created entirely with LEGO® bricks by American artist Nathan Sawaya. Previously a NYC corporate lawyer, Sawaya is the first artist to ever take LEGO into the art world.

The exhibition contains over 100 sculptures, made up of over a million LEGO bricks.

LEGO as an art medium

According to Nathan Sawaya, artworks made of LEGO connect with audiences in a different way compared to a more traditional medium. “Most people don’t have a block of marble at home, but I hope that day they will feel sufficiently inspired to take a few LEGO bricks and get off the beaten path”, said the artist.

His creations are constructed from countless individual pieces and were built almost entirely with just the standard bricks, only using occasional plates for the finest details.

His acclaimed show has captured hearts in 24 countries across six different continents. In London, the exhibition is held in a rather symbolically named location – Brick Lane.

Brick by brick

The first room includes an earth, oversized pencil, full size chello and other objects from day-to-day life. The visitors can even sit next to the 1:1 scale person in a chair. In the room which follows, the centrepiece is a person swimming, a striking example of motion captured in a still form.

The next room has more complex figures with hidden meanings. For example, one of Sawaya’s most recognisable pieces named “Yellow” displays a body ripping their own chest apart with LEGO bricks falling out. This artwork was first created over a decade ago from 11,000 individual yellow bricks. Another sculpture is three faces resembling traffic lights.

While LEGO often sells miniature replicas of famous landmarks and characters, Sawaya’s recreations of the Venus de Milo, Michelangelo’s David, Rodin’s Thinker and Munch’s Scream are unequal spectacles. You can also find the portrait of Andy Warhol and other interesting items, such as a 3D version of “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt.

Props to the artist

In the next room you can find a selection of brick-built LEGO “props” which were then photographed in a variety of different scenes by award-winning photographer Dean West. This includes a dog, bucket, umbrella, and a few clouds.

Our favourite piece is an stunning red dress, which must have been quite a challenge to make an organic shape of cloth from nothing but bricks.


Now you enter an all-new installation called ‘Kinetic Skulls’. This impressive piece comprises over 250 moving LEGO skulls that use mirrors, light and sound to appear endless and truly immersive.

The grand finale is a 6m long Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton made of 80,020 bricks.

The exhibition ends with a ‘Play and Build’ area that gives visitors free reign to explore their creativity with the iconic LEGO bricks.

The Art of Bricks is running at The Boiler House, 152 Brick Lane, London until 12th May 2024. More information and bookings can be found here.


Image credits: © Paul Neiman