15k sculpture smashed

$15K Sculpture Smashed An Hour Into Exhibition, Child Destroys LEGO Art

A Chinese artist named by the media as Mr. Zhao, 22, was left stunned after a sculpture he made out of LEGO pieces that cost $15,000 was smashed by a young boy.

The exhibition in Ningbo’s Wanda Plaza, in eastern China, had only been open for one hour when the sculpture was smashed, leaving the artist and onlookers shocked.

The sculpture worth 100,000 yuan, or over $15,000 U.S. dollars was of Disney’s Zootopia character, Nick Wilde. The LEGO sculpture was on display in a mall. Children were allowed to pose near the loved character, but a rope and a sign stating “do not touch” was separating the children from the LEGO sculpture, according to The Sun.

The sculpture was made out of more than 10,000 LEGO bricks, according to Shangaiist, and it took Zhao over 3 days and 3 nights to make, only for it to be destroyed in seconds. Zhao drafted Nick Wilde on a computer before building the sculpture; and, he said he did not sleep for the 3 nights he spent building the art piece.

Zhao took to Chinese social media website Weibo, under the online name Mi zhi ALiu, to express his disappointment in his art being destroyed.

“An hour after the exhibition opened, a boy aged four to five pushed Nick and he fell to the ground and smashed into pieces,” ALiu said.

Parts of the smashed sculpture had been held together by a light adhesive glue, but it was not strong enough to withhold the force of being pushed over. Zhoa said he had rushed to get the LEGO sculpture finished in time for the LEGO Expo.

“I took off some parts and put some on, over and over again, especially the eyes,” Zhao said, according to the Chinese tabloid Global Times.“They were too big at first, so [Nick’s] sly and wise-cracking traits were somehow missing.”

“I had to redo some parts.”

Despite being angry about his $15,000 sculpture being smashed to pieces, Zhao will not press charges or claim compensation from the boy’s parents, as he knew it was an accident, according to ABC News.

“The child did not intend to break it,” he said.

The boy’s parents did come forward and apologize for their son scampering under the rope and knocking over the sculpture. They reportedly did offer to pay for the damages

Zhao does not blame the child for the incident, saying he knows the boy would not be able to comprehend the cost or the time that went into crafting the sculpture. He does, however, think the Wanda employees are partially to blame, as they were not careful about watching the children who came up to have their pictures taken with the figure.

Despite the sculpture looking like a toy, it was in fact a professional piece by Zhao and one that he was quite proud of. He had been assigned by Dalian Wanda boss Wang Jianlin to build the figure to attract visitors, and to “place importance on local culture.”

Zhoa also posted to Weibo pictures of construction process, the finished LEGO fox, and the smashed remnants of the $15,000 sculpture on May 29.

The 1.8-meter sculpture cannot be salvaged, and less than one-third of Nick Wilde has been recovered.

Rob Deakin, founder of Melbourne’s LEGO play center Inside the Brick, put a positive spin on the accident by saying that LEGO is about the joy of building; Those bricks can be reused, according to The Age.

“Now those bricks can become something else,” Deakin said.

He also mentioned that Zhao’s gluing technique was not sufficient. If he had glued the whole sculpture together, it would not have smashed as easily.

“Toy companies glue all their retail display models together and they often have metal frames attached to a metal base to provide extra stability,” Deakin said.

[Photo by Sammy Smith/Getty Images]