Jan Vormann brings global Dispatchwork project to Nuart Aberdeen

Childhood memories will be ignited during Nuart Aberdeen later this year as a global project that has taken over public spaces worldwide makes a playful mark on the city, brick by brick.

Renowned artist Jan Vormann is bringing his much loved Dispatchwork project, which uses LEGO bricks to repair damaged walls and structures, to the festival and has appealed to the public to donate bricks and join him in making a colourful claim to take back public space.

The young, old and aspiring urban artists are welcome to join in the project, which the Berlin-based artist describes as “a forum to further develop, piece by piece, a global game together”, one that encourages citizens to take to the streets and contribute their own patch in a fun way.

Vormann is the first artist announced for Nuart Aberdeen, which is spearheaded by Aberdeen Inspired and Aberdeen City Council, with generous support from delivery partners Burness Paull and The McGinty’s Group. The full line-up of artists and guests involved in the festival, taking place from April 18 to 21, will be announced over the next few weeks.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired said: “LEGO is ingrained in our culture and is something that holds fond memories for many. This is a wonderful invitation for children and adults alike to engage with their city in a fun and interactive way and we can’t wait to see the results

“It is an honour to have Jan Vormann bring his Dispatchwork project to Nuart Aberdeen and we are sure that the public will be very eager to get involved. It will be fascinating to see Jan at work throughout the city centre and of course, also observe individuals interacting and putting their own take on the project.”

Since 2007, Jan Vormann has used tens of thousands of the colourful bricks to patch crumbling holes in architectural structures around the world. The bricks imitate the brick or cobblestone-constructed buildings he often “repairs,” but at a miniature scale.

While some pieces have just a few dozen LEGOs incorporated into an installation, others cover zig-zagging expanses that reach across entire walls. Having started spontaneously patching-up surfaces in Bocchignano, Italy, Vormann has since employed the technique on walls in nearly 40 cities across Europe, Central America, Asia, and the United States.

Martyn Reed, Nuart director and curator says: “There’s something very basic about our need to build, to create our own worlds and to share them, and this year’s theme, more on which later, explores this very foundational desire.

“Jan’s “Dispatchwork” series taps into this very basic human need in one of the most creative yet simple ways possible. The fact that he encourages others around the world to plagiarise the idea and join a growing international collaboration, rather than copyrighting and protecting the idea, says a lot about the ethos behind both the work and the man.”

Jan Vormann added: “Dispatchwork aims to ignite childhood memories of abstract shapes and vivid colours, towards a global collaboration of persons unknown to each other. A handful of used bricks is all you need to submit a contribution to the project, as long as you don’t mind when the structures slowly ‘dissolve’ or ‘disappear’ back into children’s toyboxes”.

Inspired by Jan Vormann’s interventions throughout the festival, the Dispatchwork project will culminate in a public Big Lego Build on Easter Sunday (April 21) held at The Rooftop Garden above the St Nicholas Centre.

Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokesperson, said: “Jan Vormann is a fantastic addition to the Nuart Aberdeen programme for 2019 and we look forward to welcoming him to the city. His LEGO installations have made waves around the world and I’m sure that interest will draw visitors from far and near to this year’s event.

“When Aberdeen City Council made a £300,000 funding commitment to Nuart Aberdeen the aim was to establish an event that would create a buzz locally at the same time as reaching new international audiences and Jan’s involvement is a wonderful example of the creative way the event is fulfilling both of those goals. We’re proud to be a delivery partner and look forward to an exciting, engaging and captivating 2019 programme.”

A founding member of the T10 Studios in Berlin, Jan Vormann is an artist, researcher and lecturer. He studied Visual Arts at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee, Germany, as well as Monumental Arts at the Stieglitz Academy of Fine Arts in St.Petersburg, Russia.

Vormann has lectured New Media / Interaction Design (IXD) at BTK University's New Media / IXD Department in Berlin and has given numerous workshops and talks at institutions including the Parsons School of Design in Paris, the ARCAM Amsterdam Institute for Architecture and the Kunsthochschule Burg Giebichenstein, Halle.

In addition to interventions in public spaces around the world, he has presented his work at international exhibitions including the Venice Biennale of Art (2011) and Architecture (2018), the Nuart Festival Stavanger (2018), Ars Electronica in Linz (2010) and the Nuits Blanches in Paris (2014).

Nuart Aberdeen organisers are looking for donations of lots of basic, thin and sloped Lego bricks in all lengths and widths. Megablocks and easy click bricks will also be accepted. Members of the public who would like to donate LEGO bricks can drop them off beside the Central Information desk in the Upper Mall of the Bon Accord Centre.

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