Saturday, May 9, 2015

Beautiful LEGO

Beautiful LEGOBeautiful LEGO by Mike Doyle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a child, I'm certain that I swallowed at least one small Lego brick. I don't know that it ever passed through the digestive tract. More than likely, it's lodged around a corner in my large intestine somewhere, waiting to kill me. But I'm certain I'm not alone. A straw poll, solidly scientific in its execution (I asked friends and co-workers) shows that most males believe they swallowed at least one Lego during their childhood.

What are the archaeologists going to think?

"Clearly, this little plastic brick was interred with these remains to memorialize the ancients fascination with temple architecture. The building block would have been placed with the body before burial, near the navel (provenience substantiates this) to provide the erstwhile architect with a model to replicate the materials needed for temple building in the afterlife."

They'll never, ever guess they were used to make art. "Real" art. Substantial art. Serious art. The kind that Mike Doyle presents here, and which he produces himself.

In fact, I wish there was more work in the book of the same quality and construction as Mike Doyle's work. This guy is good. Really, really good. Take, for example, his piece Victorian With Tree. This thing was made with legos? That's insane!

Equally insane are Nannan Zhang's surreal, apocalyptic visions, which can likely be found somewhere here. Sorry, Zhang has 50 pages of photos here, all of them showing some fascinating constructions. I don't have time to go through all 50 pages to find a representative sample featured in Beautiful Lego. But if you winnow through it, look for "End of Days" and "Armageddon". You won't be disappointed.

There are dozens of artists featured in this book. I've just pointed out my two favorites. There's something here for everyone, from birds to spacecraft to mosaics to everyday objects. There's even a depiction of a frog dissection, which brought back some memories from high school (traumatic as they may be).

But it's in the architecture that these artists really show their chops. Whether faithful recreations of monumental architecture, or whimsical additions to the canon, the lego-constructed-buildings are absolutely spectacular.

We also get some great insight to the artists themselves through a series of interviews with some of the top builders. These builders love their medium. There is passion hidden in these little blocks.

Maybe we should bury Legos with our artistic dead.

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