The largest paintings in Claude Monet’s Water Lilies series are meant to transport the observer to a tranquil French water garden. As the viewer moves closer, the illusion breaks down into a mottling of blue and green brushstrokes—or in the case of this recreation from Ai Weiwei, LEGO pieces. As designboom reports, the Chinese visual artist has built a 50-foot-long homage to Monet out of 650,000 plastic bricks.
Weiwei’s Water Lilies #1 is set to debut at London’s Design Museum next month. Spanning the length of the wall where it will be displayed, the piece is his largest LEGO creation yet. Weiwei is famous for incorporating manufactured objects into his sculptures, including LEGO bricks. His work often tackles political themes, which led to LEGO briefly refusing his business in 2014. This resulted in fans around the world mailing him thousands of LEGO pieces. Water Lilies #1, which features 22 distinct colors, is made from those donated parts.
By using plastic bricks as his medium, Weiwei hoped to contrast the personal brushstrokes of Monet’s impressionist style. To further contradict the idyllic scene, he added a dark void in the right side of the frame, which is meant to represent the door to the underground dugout in Xinjiang province, where he lived with his father in forced exile in the 1960s.
Water Lilies #1 is part of a larger exhibition titled Ai Weiwei: Making Sense. The show, which features work from throughout his career, will run at the Design Museum from April 7 through July 30.