Bricks as a powerful medium of communication in art

Thousands of art projects have been made out of common industrial materials, but we choose the most expressive ones assembled using bircks. Here we represented a few of our favoutire art-brickworks.

The shortlist begins with an artwork Equivalent VIII made by Carl Andre in 1966.

Carl Andre, Equivalent VIII,  1966

Carl Andre, Equivalent VIII, 1966
MEDIUM: Firebricks
DIMENSIONS: 127 x 686 x 2292 mm

David Bourdon describes the artwork: „For his second show at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in March 1966, Andre created an astringent environment by setting eight rectilinear mounds of 120 bricks each on the gallery's parquet floor.” 120 was chosen because it was a number particularly rich in factors. The bricks had to be stacked in two layers to prevent them drifting apart and to give the pieces sufficient mass. Thus the top layer of each mound had only 60 bricks. The bricks were assembled in only four out of six possible combinations: 3 x 20, 4 x 15, 5 x 12 and 6 x 10. (In bricklaying, bricks laid end to end are called a stretcher course and bricks laid side by side are called a header course; thus the pieces may be described as 120 bricks in two courses each, i.e. 3 header x 20 stretcher and 3 stretcher x 20 header etc.). The same 6 x 10 combination, for example, could be either an elongated rectangle or a near square, depending on the orientation of the bricks. Although each of the eight shapes was different, they all occupied the same amount of space in cubic centimetres, which accounted for their visual equivalence.

The next art installation which attracted our attention is an artwork of The castle 2007 by Jorge Mendez Blake.

Jorge Méndez Blake, The Castle, edition of Franz Kafka’s 'The Castle', 2007
MEDIUM: Bricks
DIMENSIONS: 2300 x 1750 x 400 cm

The Mexican artist Jorge Méndez Blake was educated as an architect, so there is a clear link between architecture, art and poetry. Furthermore it shows the influence of architecture and literature - „two strongest manifestations of culture” as Méndez Blake admit. The bricks in installation were carefully arranged without mortar and Franz Kafka’s book The Castle  is laying under the huge pressure of the bricks. The original installation was impressive at almost 23 meters long and 4 meters high.  

Bricks are often used by artists to express the idea and allows to work in a large-scale projects. For instance a 30 meters high sculpture Brick Man by Antony Gormley.

Antony Gormley, Brick Man
MEDIUM: Bricks
DIMENSIONS: 30 m

Brick Man was a sculpture proposed in the 1980s for the city of Leeds. West Yorks, England