Sopheap Pich: Material as Identification
It’s the material that gives me a voice.
Sopheap Pich has a recognisable signature style: working with thin strips of rattan and bamboo to create sculptural forms. His work engages with personal histories, traumatic events, and the enduring culture of Cambodia by using traditional materials and craft techniques.
Sopheap Pich’s return to Cambodia in 2002, after about twenty years in the United States, triggered a new direction in his art, as he moved away from painting and began creating sculptures out of locally sourced bamboo and rattan. Working with local craftsmen, he devised a latticework method reminiscent of woven bamboo baskets and fish traps.
His modular sculpture Compound can be combined in an infinite number of ways—each time it’s exhibited it takes on a different configuration. Produced at a time when Pich’s home city of Phnom Penh was undergoing rapid urbanisation, the rectilinear forms of Compound serve as a poignant commentary on the constantly changing cityscape.
Produced by M+
Producer: Ocean Pine, Kenji Wong Wai Kin
Curatorial Research: Pauline J. Yao, Vera Lam
Special Thanks: Sopheap Pich