Nothing attests to humans’ instinctual love of making stuff and taking it apart more than the Lego brick. The plastic toy has been featured in films and music videos and is the basis of some serious modern art projects — including Jan Vormann’s ongoing “Dispatchwork” pieces in Berlin and Bocchignano, Italy. Vormann identifies damaged buildings and plugs the gaps with brightly colored Lego bricks.
It’s not uncommon for passersby to feel the urge to play with Legos and join Vormann as he works, giving the project a communal aspect. But the work isn’t kids’ stuff: It takes structural know-how to “repair” organic shapes with Lego blocks.
The work also gestures to World War II, when air raids created many of the buildings’ nicks and craters. Curiously, Legos — which first became popular in the late 1940s — seem to lend themselves to art about WWII, including Polish artist Zbigniew Libera’s darkly ironic Lego construction kits of concentration camps.
Vormann’s work is more uplifting, wouldn’t you say?
+ Jan Vormann