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tạo hình
Over and above all these memories

(Translated from Vietnamese original by Tôn-Thất Quỳnh-Du)

Of all those days and moments laden with memories of Nhơn, I spent two substantial periods of time with him.

The first was when he came to Huế and stayed for months to gestate and create the bust of Phan Bội Châu. Nhơn would stay at the School of Fine Arts. I was almost never home, spending many evenings with Nhơn as he worked on the sculpture. Lights would be strung up, and bonfires would be lit as Nhơn worked on the internal frame of the statue. Sometimes the Hiển Nhơn gate leading to the school would be locked and I had to climb over the gate to get inside.

The second time was in 1974 when Lê Thành Nhơn, Trịnh Công Sơn and myself taught at the Nha Trang University, and we all stayed at the Rạng Bàng Palace. Although we were doing our own things, we all shared a common residence and worked together towards something we sensed exciting and for the common good.

But over and above all these memories is the person of Lê Thành Nhơn himself. He has a strong and muscular build, his whole physique is solid and thickset, his gait is strong and bouncy and he can't stay still for long. Yet in all his creative works - often of a very large scale - his lines are extremely clean, fine, and elegant.

The energies and essence of his sculptures seem to be compacted inwards while their beauty shines outwards for all to see. These qualities are especially true in the two sculptures Nhơn left in Huế, the bronze bust of Phan BộI Châu and the bronze portrait of Quan Âm Bodhisattva, which will remain in this city forever.

BỬU Ý

Writer (Vietnam)


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