LEGO is massive. The tiny Danish brick, once only popular with kids as a childhood toy, at some point exploded into a phenomenon. Today, its popularity spans generations. It has spawned successful big-screen CGI movies, as well as a batch of themed computer games. LEGO has become a collectible, and plays a huge part in pop culture, cultivating tie-ins with some of the biggest properties in entertainment including Star Wars and DC Comics.
But not only that, the little building block that’s the nemesis of bare feet everywhere can officially be called ‘art’: artist Nathan Sawaya builds awesome LEGO sculptures that blow you away. And excitingly, he’s partnered with Warner Bros. and DC Comics to construct an extensive collection of LEGO artworks that you can now see in a brand new exhibition in London. Housed in a purpose-built venue on the South Bank, The Art of the Brick: DC Super Heroes features more than 120 original creations, made entirely out of LEGO bricks.
Inspired by DC’s Justice League, there are large-scale interpretations of characters including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman, among others. You’ll also find vehicles and impressive LEGO versions of classic comic book covers as well as pieces inspired by Cubism and Pop Art. There’s even a life-size Batmobile, that measures 5.5 metres in length and uses half a million LEGO bricks.
Fandom went along to a preview of the exhibition and found ourselves open-mouthed at Sawaya’s creations – there are plaques accompanying many of the exhibits which tell you, astonishingly, how many LEGO bricks went into the model. Some tell you how long it took to put together. Sawaya loves a burrito, and even charts the number of burritos he ate while making some of his reproductions.
We’ve included a selection of the pieces on display below – but be advised, these LEGO constructions need to be witnessed in their full plastic glory. For exhibition details, scroll to the end of the article.
A cross-legged Harley Quinn made out of red LEGO bricks
Aquaman at home in the bath, complete with rubber ducky
Diana Prince in disguise, hiding in plain sight wearing a Roy Lichtenstein-inspired Wonder Woman dress
Nathan Sawaya’s Cubist rendering of Wonder Woman
The Flash, complete with elaborate backdrop
Superman in flight, suspended
This Superman model explores deeper themes – he’s seen here PUSHING HIS OWN CAPE, which seems to be forming a wall around him
The Flash in motion
This comic book cover on the back of Batman’s cape is something special
One of several busts in the exhibition – this one’s of Wonder Woman
Photos by Jane Hobson. The Art of the Brick: DC Super Heroes is open from March 1 2017.