Offbeat

German Artist Lends Magic Touch With Lego

Jan Vormann, age 26, has been on a very special mission for the last three years of his life; he travels the world and uses Lego building blocks to repair crumbling walls and monuments. His quest has taken him from his home base in Berlin to Italy, the old quarters of Tel Aviv and New York’s Bryant Park.

Vormann estimates that his brightly colored plastic repair work has required so far at least 1,000 Lego blocks and they attract  the attention of passersby whose help he often enlists in the placement of the bricks.

In his own words: “My work draws attention to the smallest parts of our cities that are falling apart because of the brightness of the Lego… It makes people aware that this wall or statue or construction is not complete anymore, for whatever reason.”

Vormann began his Lego expression at an arts festival in Rome and he brought his idea back to Berlin where he completed his favorite work to date.

He says:  “… I filled in the holes still left by guns and shrapnel from the Second World War. That drew people’s attention to the Lego and hopefully they would ask themselves why the Lego was there.”

He calls his project “Dispatchwork,” and he is backed by a team of volunteers. His use of stone mixed with plastic has its own particular artistic justification.

According to Vormann:

“The combination of stone bricks and plastic bricks creates all kind of different contrasts that, in my eyes, illuminate relationships between aesthetics and functionality.”

Vormann’s portfolio of Lego accomplishments includes the repair of centuries-old buildings in Europe, as well as the wall of a fast-food restaurant across from Penn Station in New York City.

His Lego patch designs are an exact fit for the holes in the walls surrounding New York’s Bryant and Central parks, as well as many building facades in both Brooklyn and Manhattan. Some New Yorkers love them and others have failed to even notice them; a phenomenon that occurs often in The Big Apple.

One young passerby commented: “I’ve never seen anything like that before. It’s cool. They should put more around the city.”

Another said: “I can’t believe I walked by it for days without noticing. That’s a New York thing. There are random things all across the city, but we’re so quick getting around that we tend not to notice them.”

Well, Mr. Vormann, hats off to you and your efforts to bring your own unique version of art for public improvement into the world.

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