The Sculptor of Light

The Sculptor of Light

Thanks to his skilled hands, artisan Bui Van Tu has turned rough and discarded wood, even household waste and scrap, into sculptures with enchanting light that convey deep and meaningful messages.


Before officially embarking on this new art, the young artist worked as a construction engineer and a creative director in a handicraft company. Tu first thought of creating sculptures using light when he was a student moonlighting at a job of setting up and decorating rock gardens.

He found that the shadows of rocks shaped interesting images. As a result, Tu has created an original form of art which combines sculpture and light. Tu named the art he pursues "light sculpture" that combines sculpture and light, creating unique images through the shadows of objects.


The process of creating a work of art begins with generating ideas and selecting materials. Tu sculpts and adjusts the source of light to determine the angle and distortion of the object. The final product is then positioned in front of the light to create intentional shadows and shapes that reflect the sculptor's vision.

This is a new direction, therefore there are no instructions or a path for the young artist to follow and learn from others' creations. He must explore and discover their own inner worlds, which is  fascinating and deep, but also full of challenges.

Creating a work of art is not very easy. For example, when using expensive material like solid wood, even a slight mistake during the process may result in having to discard the entire piece. With ceramics, the artist must mold the shape and let it dry for a month before firing. During firing, constant monitoring and adjustments are necessary as this material tends to deform at high temperatures.

The "Light of Knowledge" exhibition, one of the largest events of Tu's was held in 2022, marking over a decade of doing this type of art. The exhibition featured 12 portraits of world-renowned scientists, artists, and musicians such as Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Leonardo da Vinci and Ludwig van Beethoven.

At the exhibition, Tu said, "I always seek new and fresh expressions for each story. I find inspiration in light, which takes me into a mesmerizing realm. The artworks in this exhibition are somewhat a reflection of my soul".

The young artist explained that each portrait is a unique piece and a convergence of three elements such as time, space, and consciousness. Therefore, creating a portrait is not simply "describing the anatomical features on the face". The artist needs to portray the character traits of the person, and depict the ups and downs of their life.

"Creating a new milestone for the world art map" is the vision that Tu has built for the Dai Viet light sculpture brand. He hopes his dedication and exploration in this new art will inspire young people to find their own paths and pursue their passions.

The light sculpture is a new and different type of art. Bui Van Tu is the first one in Vietnam to study and develop the art of light sculpture.


An artwork with a portrait of Archimedes. Photo: Tran Thanh Giang/VNP


Story: Thao Vy/VNP Photos: Thanh Giang Translated by Nguyen Tuoi