Art of the Brick showcases Lego-block masterpieces

American artist Nathan Sawaya in Rome for show's Italian debut

(ANSA) - Rome, October 28 - American artist and former lawyer Nathan Sawaya presented the Italian debut of his exhibition The Art of the Brick, a show made up entirely of large dimension Lego-block sculptures, at Rome's SET - Spazio Eventi Tirso gallery on Wednesday.
    Sawaya said that when he was a lawyer, he used art to unwind at the end of the work day. "I painted, drew, used traditional methods. Then I started to experiment with Legos, the toys from my childhood," Sawaya told ANSA during the presentation of his show.
    Sawaya started a web page for his Lego sculptures, and shortly thereafter received his first orders on commission.
    "I believe that my works capture the public because Legos are familiar toys. So I propose art that's democratic and accessible to everyone, in which everyone can find his own approach".
    Despite the art's playfulness, it requires an almost maniacal precision in order to create movement in each sculpture.
    Sawaya has more than four million Lego blocks in his New York and Los Angeles studios, and each sculpture takes on average no less than three weeks to complete.
    The exhibition includes more than 80 works, among which figure some surprising recreations of classical masterpieces, such as the Venus de Milo and the Parthenon, which took 30,201 Legos to build, as well as the Mona Lisa and The Kiss by Klimt. "I wanted to reproduce these works to bring children closer to art history, thanks to a language that's appealing for the whole family," Sawaya said.
    CNN called The Art of the Brick "one of the world's ten must-see exhibitions", and the show has travelled to Australia, Taiwan, Singapore and China.
    Fabio Di Gioia, the show's curator in Italy, said The Art of the Brick was an exhibition "we couldn't deprive ourselves of".
    "Legos belong to our childhood and Sawaya speaks to our deepest self," Di Gioia said.