“We could be heroes, just for one day” – David Bowie
Chances are that growing up you might just have been aware of the world of superheroes. From Superman to Batman to Wonder Woman, heroes are all around us. They inspire us to be the best versions of ourselves, and they encourage us to dream and reach beyond everything we thought possible.
You may have also spent many hours as a child (pre-computers) playing with Lego, constructing your own little worlds out of tiny, rainbow bricks. And now a new exhibition has landed in London which combines the best of both worlds. It is The Art of the Brick: DC Superheroes. I took the boyfriend for one of his Christmas presents, and we had such a great time that I just had to show you my photos from the day.
Fun fact: the site where the exhibition is currently running (Doon Street car park, at the back of the South Bank) is where I went to a freshers fair nearly 8 years ago. You have no idea how old that makes me feel…
Now, I don’t claim to be any kind of expert on superheroes (I still get DC and Marvel mixed up), but Phil is quite the superhero nerd, and we both loved the way that these models had been created. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you may remember that I visited the artist, Nathan Sawaya’s, first Art of the Brick exhibition when it came to London in 2014. I thought that was impressive, but the DC superheroes edition even exceeded that in brilliance.
As well as the sheer level of meticulous detail involved in creating these masterpieces, I loved the thought process behind each gallery and creation. This one of Superman with wings was one of my stand-out favourites. Titled ‘Angel’, Nathan Sawaya had written next to it that he gave Superman wings because, as a saviour of mankind, a lot of his work has angelic overtones. He also posed the question of whether superheroes could be modern day gods? Now, as we all know, no superhero is perfect. But then the ancient Greek gods were far from perfect either. They were selfish and angry and proud and fell foul of every sin we mere mortals are subject to. And that seems pretty relevant to the struggle faced by superheroes too.
Speaking of struggle, no one struggled more than the villains of the comic book world. I found this piece (The Killing Joke), the cover art for a comic depicting the backstory of the Joker, all at once disturbing, morbidly fascinating, and desperately tragic too.
Then there’s Aquaman…I’m led to believe from Phil and extensive watching of The Big Bang Theory that he’s pretty much the butt of every superhero joke out there. Sad times for Aquaman. Nice rubber duck though…
I thought this exhibition was a work of absolute genius. The artworks were fantastic, I loved the colours and the vibrancy and the sheer detail which went into every single piece. I could have included so many more photos too! I really liked the addition of Nathan Sawaya’s thoughts on each piece, what inspired him to create it and some of the logistics behind it (hint: lots of wiring!) I also loved the many and varied quotes scattered throughout by the late Joseph Campbell, whose books about mythology and heroes I desperately need to read!
Alongside a sense of awe, I left this feeling inspired. Superheroes help you remember how it felt to be young, with a world of infinite possibilities stretching out before you. In this difficult world it can seem hard to keep hold of your dreams and aspirations under the weight of our responsibilities and struggles. But the hour or two we spent here helped to recapture that sense of excitement at the world, and the desire to achieve whatever you set your mind to. And I hope it helps all who visit find the hidden hero inside themselves.
Why do we fall?
So we can learn to pick ourselves up…