Art With Bricks Curated by Yellowtrace

Bricks Decoded: #YellowtracexBrickworks Content Partnership

 

In February 1976, a New York Times editor by the name of Robert B. Semple Jr. wrote about . Created by the American minimalist artist about a decade earlier, the 120 strategically placed ivory-coloured firebricks that made up a sculpture titled Equivalent VIII had come under fire—so to speak. Purchased by the Tate Gallery to become a part of their permanent collection, the piece was being scorned in the British popular press as a fairly absurd way to spend tax-payer dollars.

At the time, the Tate defended its responsibility to exhibit examples of “work which is being made now.” For the then New York Times’ London Bureau Chief Robert B. Semple Jr., there was entertainment in the controversy and the ensuing British national debate and, in the end, he observed some Tate visitors actually liked Carl Andre’s stack of uncemented bricks. “I like them. They relax me,” he quoted one such museum guest to have said. All in all, it’s just another brick… on the floor?

Fast forward a few decades, and it seems we’re all a lot more relaxed about bricks being controversial, becoming art in all their wonderful simplicity, and being more than only a conventional, sturdy building material. The Tate continues to behold Equivalent VIII as one of the most important pieces of its time, and creatives further afield have followed suit—whether minimalist, maximalist, symbolic, ironic, or otherwise.

From the high-brow, to the innovative, and some more tongue-in-cheek, here are just a few of our favourite artistic applications of bricks and brickwork.

 

Related:
Bricks Decoded: The Return Of Glass Blocks.
Bricks Decoded: Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Breeze Block.
Bricks Decoded: Curved Brick Buildings.

 

 

From the Knees of my Nose to the Belly of my Toes by Alex Chinneck | Yellowtrace

From the Knees of my Nose to the Belly of my Toes by Alex Chinneck | Yellowtrace

From the Knees of my Nose to the Belly of my Toes by Alex Chinneck | Yellowtrace

From the Knees of my Nose to the Belly of my Toes by Alex Chinneck | Yellowtrace
Photography © Stephen O’Flaherty.

 

From the Knees of my Nose to the Belly of my Toes by Alex Chinneck // Known for upending banal structures and everyday architecture like carparks, telegraph poles, and brick building facades—British designer and artist subverts the everyday material to surprise and delight. For From the Knees of my Nose to the Belly of my Toes, the artist has created a slumped brick façade across the face of a tired, derelict house in the English seaside town of Margate.


 

Six Pins and half a dozen needles by Alex Chinneck | Yellowtrace

Six Pins and half a dozen needles by Alex Chinneck | Yellowtrace

Six Pins and half a dozen needles by Alex Chinneck | Yellowtrace

Six Pins and half a dozen needles by Alex Chinneck | Yellowtrace
Photography © .

 

Six Pins and half a dozen needles by Alex Chinneck // Alex revisited bricks in a recent permanent public sculptural intervention slash building façade titled Six pins and half a dozen needles. Twenty metres high and designed to resemble a torn page, the piece is made up of 4,000 red bricks and is intended to reference the building’s history—it was home to a publisher for over twenty years.


 

PAUSE by Ashari Architects | Yellowtrace

PAUSE by Ashari Architects | Yellowtrace

PAUSE by Ashari Architects | Yellowtrace

PAUSE by Ashari Architects | Yellowtrace

PAUSE by Ashari Architects | Yellowtrace

PAUSE by Ashari Architects | Yellowtrace

PAUSE by Ashari Architects | Yellowtrace

PAUSE by Ashari Architects | Yellowtrace

PAUSE by Ashari Architects | Yellowtrace
Photography by Amir Ali Ghafari.

 

PAUSE by Ashari Architects // Designed as a pavilion for an architectural installation in Iran in 2017, PAUSE wielded the potential of bricks as an atmospheric device. A spiral of hanging bricks suspended within a large cube structure encouraged visitors to pause, and peer up into the sky above.


 

Hy-Fi by The Living | Yellowtrace

Hy-Fi by The Living | Yellowtrace

Hy-Fi by The Living | Yellowtrace

Hy-Fi by The Living | Yellowtrace

Hy-Fi by The Living | Yellowtrace

Hy-Fi by The Living | Yellowtrace

Hy-Fi by The Living | Yellowtrace
Photography by .

 

Hy-Fi by The Living // Dreamt up by New York City-based studio , the 2014 MoMA PS1 gallery pavilion was created using green bricks—not bricks in the colour of jade or spearmint, rather brickwork made entirely from biodegradable materials.

Each bio-brick was grown rather than manufactured, using a combination of agricultural byproducts like corn and mushroom mycelium—a kind of natural digestive glue. Titled Hy-Fi, its twisted turrets played host to MoMA Ps1’s summer events as part of the gallery’s Young Architects Program.


 

Espacio Transmisor Del Túmulo by Toni Gironés | Yellowtrace

Espacio Transmisor Del Túmulo by Toni Gironés | Yellowtrace

Espacio Transmisor Del Túmulo by Toni Gironés | Yellowtrace

Espacio Transmisor Del Túmulo by Toni Gironés | Yellowtrace

Espacio Transmisor Del Túmulo by Toni Gironés | Yellowtrace
Photography by & .

 

Espacio Transmisor Del Túmulo by Toni Gironés // Somewhere in the Lleida province in Spain is Seró—a tiny town in which the remains of stone megalith dating back to the third millennium BC (about 4,800 years ago) was recently unearthed. In tribute to the discovery, Catalan architect created a brick monument titled Espacio Transmisor Del Túmulo, which is a to-scale version of the ancient village discovered on the site. The structure won the FAD prize for architecture in 2013 and was one of the three works chosen to represent Catalonia at the Venice Architecture Bienniale in 2014.


 

The exhibition space as a pedestal for itself by Filip Dujardin | Yelowtrace

The exhibition space as a pedestal for itself by Filip Dujardin | Yelowtrace

The exhibition space as a pedestal for itself by Filip Dujardin | Yelowtrace

The exhibition space as a pedestal for itself by Filip Dujardin | Yelowtrace

The exhibition space as a pedestal for itself by Filip Dujardin | Yelowtrace

The exhibition space as a pedestal for itself by Filip Dujardin | Yelowtrace

The exhibition space as a pedestal for itself by Filip Dujardin | Yelowtrace
Images © Filip Dujardin.

 

The exhibition space as a pedestal for itself by Filip Dujardin // Belgian artist and photographer has a vast portfolio of images of fictional buildings—structures created in digital collage that switch the ordinary into something extraordinary. Exhibited at Z33 House for Contemporary Art in 2013, The exhibition space as a pedestal for itself was Filip’s first foray into 3D, sculptural work.

Rather than create models or life size versions of his science fiction buildings, Filip created a series of red brick ‘interventions’ within the architecture of the gallery. “The brick walls nestle like parasites in, on, over and behind the folds of the building and suggest how things could be, what might be coming,” he wrote in a statement.


 

Treasures of a nation by Filip Dujardin | Yellowtrace

Treasures of a nation by Filip Dujardin | Yellowtrace

Treasures of a nation by Filip Dujardin | Yellowtrace
Images © Filip Dujardin.

 

Treasures of a nation by Filip Dujardin // Filip recreated the same red brick interventions for in Belgium the following year, this time in a single white room with a grid ceiling. For Treasures of a nation, Filip arranged a deconstructed room within the gallery room in fragmented rows of bricks.

“By walking through the space new spatial perceptions emerged between the architectural fragments and recomposes the original space in the head,” he wrote. “A solid room became unstable, a mental space collapsed.”


 

Bricks Decoded: The Minimal City by Matteo Mezzadri | Yellowtrace

Bricks Decoded: The Minimal City by Matteo Mezzadri | Yellowtrace

Bricks Decoded: The Minimal City by Matteo Mezzadri | Yellowtrace
Images © Matteo Mezzadri.

 

The Minimal City by Matteo Mezzadri // Created by Parma-based multidisciplinary artist , Le città minime or The Minimal City is a still life photography series—and a meticulous assembly of dozens of individual bricks.

Read more about this article & see more images here.


 

Jose Dávila's Sculptural Exhibition at Galería OMR in Mexico City | Yellowtrace

Jose Dávila's Sculptural Exhibition at Galería OMR in Mexico City | Yellowtrace
Images courtesy of Jose Dávila and .

 

Promise of a Better World by Jose Dávila // A little like Alex Chinneck, first caused a sensation through his photography—blank cutouts of the world’s most architecturally significant buildings. In 2014, he hosted an exhibition of sculpture titled State of Rest, which was exhibited at Mexico City’s Galería OMR.

Each piece focused on the fundamental building blocks of architecture—hefty slabs of marble, granite, timber, and brick, suspended by coloured commercial tie down straps in order to appear to defy gravity. For Promise of a Better World, Jose arranged a set of uncemented bricks not unlike Carl Andre before him, this time resting white neon frames against the structure, neutralizing its boundaries and softening its weight.

Read more about this article & see more images here.


 

Brick Train Darlington by David Mach | Yellowtrace
Image courtesy of David Mach.

 

Brick Train Darlington by David Mach // Commissioned in 1994 by Darlington Borough Council in Northern England, Scottish sculptor brick locomotive was the largest public sculpture in Britain for a time (it was eclipsed by Anish Kapoor in 2010). Replete with billowing smoke plume and designed to resemble Sir Herbert Nigel Gresley’s A4 class train, the life sized steam engine is made out of specially fired-again “Accrington Nori” brick—a material often used in the area.


 

By Hand by Dan Stockholm | Yellowtrace

By Hand by Dan Stockholm | Yellowtrace

By Hand by Dan Stockholm | Yellowtrace

By Hand by Dan Stockholm | Yellowtrace
Images courtesy of Dan Stockholm.

 

By Hand by Dan Stockholm // Meant as a sort of memorial to his later father, Danish artist imprinted his hands into a set of red clay bricks as part of an exhibition of his work titled HOUSE. Much of his work is concerned with gesture, drawing attention to the process in making, or something Dan calls “creative archeology”.


 

The Castle by Jorge Méndez Blake | Yellowtrace

The Castle by Jorge Méndez Blake | Yellowtrace

The Castle by Jorge Méndez Blake | Yellowtrace

The Castle by Jorge Méndez Blake | Yellowtrace
Images courtesy of Jorge Méndez Blake.

 

The Castle by Jorge Méndez Blake // Based in Guadalajara in Mexico, architect slash artist is an avid reader—and his artwork speculates the power of both architecture and literature. Created in 2007, The Castle is laid with a little more symbolism than Carl Andre’s 1966 brick wall in the gallery. Rupturing the neat rows of bricks is a paperback edition of Kafka’s ‘The Castle’—suggesting the potential of small ideas to have an undeniable, powerful impact.


 

Brickolage by Kuehn Malvezzi | Yellowtrace

Brickolage by Kuehn Malvezzi | Yellowtrace
Photography by .

 

Brickolage by Kuehn Malvezzi // Similarly centred on the clout of bricks and literature is a three-part furniture series by Italian-German studio, . Exhibited in the lobby of the Galleria Gio Marconi at Salone in 2013, the series of bookshelves were made using bricks produced by Danish firm Peterson Tegl, and then lined with books supplied by Milanese publuisher Mausse.


 

Bricks by Anna Dominiguez and Omar Sosa | Yellowtrace

Bricks by Anna Dominiguez and Omar Sosa | Yellowtrace

Bricks by Anna Dominiguez and Omar Sosa | Yellowtrace

Bricks by Anna Dominiguez and Omar Sosa | Yellowtrace
Photography by .

 

Bricks by Anna Dominiguez and Omar Sosa // Spanish art director, publisher and graphic designer, creates totems from everyday items – from teacups, loaves of bread, rolls of tape, birthday candles, colanders and sieves. In collaboration with Anna Dominiquez, and with photography by , he also made a series of brick and cinderblock totems – arranging the ordinary in such a way that it became something curious, playful, and extraordinary.


 

The Multipurpose Brick by Max Siedentopf | Yellowtrace

The Multipurpose Brick by Max Siedentopf | Yellowtrace

The Multipurpose Brick by Max Siedentopf | Yellowtrace

The Multipurpose Brick by Max Siedentopf | Yellowtrace
Photography © Max Siedentopf.

 

The Multipurpose Brick by Max Siedentopf // If you haven’t got it by now, bricks are versatile! Photographer and artist is probably best known for adding cardboard supercar features like spoilers, splitters and wings to parked cars in Amsterdam in a series titled Slapdash Supercars. He also shot a series called The Mutlipurpose Brick, in which the humble red brick becomes all manner of (very useful) things. A door stop, gym weight, back scratch, wallet, picnic basket, ping-pong bat, mouse pad, nail file, set of dominos, a plate, portable steps, even a pillow. The possibilities are truly endless.

 

 

Bricks Decoded: #YellowtracexBrickworks Content Partnership

 

This Yellowtrace Promotion is proudly created in partnership with . All related thoughts and ideas reflect our genuine opinion. Like everything we do at Yellowtrace, our sponsored content is carefully curated to maintain utmost relevance to our readers.

 


 


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About The Author

Sammy Preston

Sammy Preston is a writer, editor, and curator living in Sydney. Working especially within art and design, and then lifestyle and culture more broadly, Sammy is a senior writer at Broadsheet, and a contributing digital editor at Foxtel's Lifestyle platform. Sammy also contributes regularly to art and design press like VAULT Magazine, Art Collector, Art Edit, Habitus, and Indesign magazines. She's written art essays for MUSEUM, exhibition texts for Sophie Gannon Gallery, and has worked as an arts and culture editor for FBi Radio. In 2016, she worked as part of the editorial team for Indesign Magazine as digital editor during the publication's pivotal print and website redesign. Sammy was also the founding manager and curator of contemporary art space Gallery 2010—a curator-run initiative housed within a Surry Hills loading dock. The gallery hosted exhibitions with emerging and established artists from 2012 until 2016.

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