Tuesday 26 November 2019

Press Review; The Art Of The Brick LEGO Art Exhibition, Manchester

This Winter the Great Northern Warehouse in Manchester's Deansgate is playing host to The Art Of The Brick, a touring installation of more than 75 models and 1 million genuine LEGO bricks. It's all been created by artist Nathan Sawaya, and we were invited along to take a look...

The Art Of The Brick LEGO Art Exhibition Review at Great Northern Warehouse manchester

I'd never been to the Great Northern Warehouse before, but it's really easy to find and get to, every tram except 1 goes down Deansgate. Inside it's a huge space, as you'd expect, and the exhibition is housed on the 1st floor.

Great Northerners artwork at the Great Northern Warehouse in Manchester

When you first go in, don't miss the short introduction film by the artist himself, Nathan Sawaya. I found it really interesting, and I love the fact that he tells anyone watching 'anything can be art. Go and make something with whatever you have to hand' - which brings you nicely to the first model.

The Art Of THe Brick Apples Planets solar system cello and hand gripping LEGO brick

The first room is a collection of still life objects and the planets did fascinate my boys, as they often do. I particularly liked the Cello, the way the shape curves is spot on. My favourite was THINK!, and we had to peep inside that brain. I won't spoil it, you can probably guess the contents...

The Art Of The Brick THINK! model head with small figures busy inside LEGO brick model exhibition review

Also in the first room was a table full of artist Nathan Sawaya's sketches and plans at the start of his design process. This is something I keep trying to get across to my boys, so hopefully they'll take note!

The Art Of The Brick Nathan Sawaya's plans on paper for LEGO brick model

Mr Sawaya has modelled a lot of people and it was some of these we met next. Unknown faces, and some of them with an impossible amount of expression.

Yellow LEGO man ripping apart his own chest

trio of humans with shapes for heads blue square, red ball, yellow triangle

small figure human transforming into ladder depicting the struggle LEGO brick model

The Art Of The Brick red face mask huge model head LEGO brick model

There was even an interactive model, which delighted my boys. When I say interactive, you can sit and chat.

blue swimming female form against the current

The Art Of THe Brick figures hands body being gripped human removing mask breaking through

Perhaps the most poignant models are also here, looking at life and all that it brings.

Nathan Sawaya LEGO brick art Everlasting model of a couple of older years

Nathan Sawaya LOSS a parent holding their child art of the brick

The Art Of THe Brick LEGO Exhibit primary colour skulls

THe Art Of THe Brick LEGO Exhibit model on chair being interviewed by boy

Then we were into a history section, where Nathan has recreated historic buildings, artworks and statues. It was really as fascinating to me to see which he had chosen as it was to see the models themselves.

The Art Of The Brick LEGO brick model the second chinese horse cave painting

The Art Of The Brick LEGO brick model exhibition statues and paintings colliseum buddha sphinx

The Art Of THe Brick statues the scream Whistler's Mother

Recreating 2D images in LEGO is a lot easier now that there are computer programmes to help you, but that doesn't really detract from the sheer slightly-pixellated beauty. Surely all any woman wants is a husband who can recreate her in LEGO like this...

The Art Of The Brick LEGO brick model Nathan Sawaya's wife recreated in LEGO

The Art Of The Brick LEGO brick model Nathan Sawaya icons jimi hendrix bob dylan andy warhol

There are a couple of really different models that stand out on their own. A room full of LEGO props and photographs includes this amazing red dress, and slightly earlier in the exhibit we can see that LEGO itself isn't the only thing that's beautiful.

Art Of The Brick LEGO model red dress exploding and ripping apart

The Art Of The Brick LEGO model stained glass window

The final model is a new one and he's a bit special. The lifesize T-Rex.

The Art Of THe Brick LEGO dino dinosaur t-rex model

The Art Of The Brick LEGO model dinosaur tyrannosaurus rex neck and shoulder

At the end, just before you exit through the gift shop, there is a play opportunity for all of those kids who have had to keep their hands to themselves. The giant vats of LEGO were as popular with the grown ups, although they weren't so keen to lie in it and conceal themselves with LEGO.

boy lying in LEGO pit with face concealed

They missed a trick really. Those big bathloads of LEGO should have been single colour. When do you ever get to play with enough of one colour to build something massive?

We really enjoyed The Art Of The Brick, and I took away far more than just looking at some pretty models. It will take you around an hour to see all of the around 100 models, but true fans and engineers will probably double that.

You can find more information and book tickets for The Art of the Brick Manchester here. 

Prices start from £9.50 for children / £14.50 for adults / concessions £12.00 / family of four £42.00.

Sunday – Wednesday: 10am – 6pm (last entry 5pm)
Thursday: 10am – 8pm (last entry 7pm)
Friday – Saturday:  10am – 7pm (last entry 6pm)

We were invited to The Art Of The Brick to review

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