What you’re seeing is made entirely of LEGO. No pieces have been altered (painted or otherwise), no foreign materials were used (wood, glue, paint or otherwise) and no photo retouching aside from slight contrast and colour correction and the background.
The incredible abandoned Victorian mansion above was the creation of artist Mike Doyle and it took him over 600 hours to complete. It’s spooky, haunting and all kinds of amazing. A truly innovative creation of LEGO art. The Sifter salutes you Mr. Doyle! Simply awesome.
Victorian on Mud Heap by Mike Doyle
The third installment of this abandoned house series [first image shown] continues its textural exploration of decay with a Victorian home engulfed in mud. The mud travels through the first floor, tears down a front wall and oozes over the porch side, taking with it household contents of convenience. This detail opens the piece up, allowing the eye to travel the surface of the house and then back through the porch, into a room and back out to survey the piles of garbage. The play on depth here is something I enjoy as one has a glimpse of the activity behind this architectural scrim.
The house, itself, was chosen due to the repeating angled roofs that reach up high. This gives the architectural mass a certain rhythm that I found appealing. Also, abstractly, this echos the gothic representation of cathedrals – with their many spires – reaching upward to the heavens. While this is not a religious piece, there is a certain contemplation that I find in it.
On that note, of particular interest to me in this work is the notion of broken trust and faith. Foundations give way. Permanence transmutes into fragility. Our safe havens betray us.
For me, this piece speaks to the inherent unpredictability of those things which we call our foundation. Like a little dollhouse, a seemingly secure home is plucked up and set on a new path. This charming home, lovingly embellished with ornamental fancy was no match for nature. The fancy embellishments serve as a reminder of our earlier focus on the material world, while the aftermath removes us from that focus. The piece offers no answers or necessarily any hope, but rather points to life’s fragility.
Strong foundations are the essence of safe havens. These foundations can be physical foundations (an orderly home, for instance), ideological foundations (religion and politics), financial foundations (steady income and solid investments), social foundations (emotional ties to others) and so on. Our well-being is pinned on these safe havens that we hold on to as a place to fall back in times of stress and trouble. Amidst the chaos of environments we cannot control – whether physical, financial, social or mental – the house is one of the ultimate icons representing a safe haven. It is the final retreat and escape of the day where we can let go of the external pressures (or at least some of them) that grip us during the day. Here, in the home, with the world locked behind a door, we control what will be our guest and what will not.
However, this and other safe havens betray. The door can be kicked in at the blink of an eye and our foundation instantly dissolves. Local events of recent – catastrophic earthquakes, tsunami, nuclear radiation leaks, record fires, floods and tornadoes – all presented real devastation to many personal safe havens. Graft and corruption in media, government, financial sectors and businesses betray a sense of social order that provides for us a mental, moral safe haven. Untouchable international crime organizations silently hack large databases of personal information with crushing effect to individuals’ financial safe haven. Financial institutions and the people within unapologetically bring the world to its knees through reckless, greedy practices. Religious safe havens (whether “Christian” or otherwise) are assaulted from within as certain fundamentalists carve out their own scriptural interpretations of hate toward others. A democratic superpower representing life, liberty and happiness denies personal rights and institutes a policy of indefinite personal torture and the threat of it. And so it goes. All the planning, effort and unbreakable trust we put in our foundations – whatever form they take – can falter without warning.
Such it is. Life events that kick at our door or we witness through others temporarily blasts the scrim open, revealing – like the hole in this model’s wall – the fragility of our own foundations and, perhaps for a moment, a sense of gratitude for those foundations left standing and greater clarity as to which safe havens are truly important to our well-being.
– Mike Doyle