Nguyen Duc Phuong
The work is a combination of religious sculpture and light fixture, two mediums that frequently appear in Nguyễn Đức Phương’s practice. The ceramic constitutes a small, yet central, component of the work. As the title suggests, the ceramic figurine represents Mañjuśrī – one of the most illustrious bodhisattvas – here humorously depicted as an endearing and naive-looking miniature. Traditionally, Mañjuśrī often appears riding a blue lion or standing triumphant atop a lion’s skin. This iconography points to the human mind being akin to a wild beast that one can only tame through patience and wisdom.
As an artist, Nguyễn Đức Phương’s work often teethers with folk art. It is profuse with a knowledge of vernacular traditions, folklore, and Vietnamese mythology combined with candid figurative shapes and a sense of flatness often found in folk drawings. Characteristic of the works he produces at Lồ – his studio in Hanoi – Mañjuśrī is composed of various discarded materials that he collects and repurposes, adorning them with ceramic creations or illustrations.