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A unique art exhibition took place at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.Sopheap Pich, a Cambodian artist, displayed his marvellous sculptures, made of rattan and bamboo, till recently, last Sunday, July 7, actually. Having watched the process and the hard and elaborated work it takes him to make his sculptures, from the beginning which means selecting the appropriate bamboo sticks, taking them to his studio, going through processes of drying and disinfection from insects to the point that they are ready for Sopheap to take action and form his elaborate artworks, I cannot but to admire not only his craft but also his perseverance. This exhibition presented ten works of his.
Pich works mainly in rattan and bamboo, constructing organic open-weave forms that look sound yet ethereal and abstract. Much of his work is inspired by elements of the human anatomy or plant life. His constructions combine his training as a painter with the spatial conceptualization of a sculptor, creating three-dimensional objects that are largely defined by their graphic character.
Born in 1971 in Battambang province, Cambodia, Sopheap Pich lives and works in Phnom Penh. He holds a BFA in Painting from the University of Massachusetts (1995) and an MFA in Painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1999).
Working primarily with rattan and bamboo, Pich’s early sculptural works (2004 – 2010) addressed issues of time, memory, and the body, often relating to Cambodia’s history, particularly with regard to his childhood recollections of life during the Khmer Rouge period (1975-79), and its culture, both its ancient traditions and contemporary struggles. Working with materials indigenous to Cambodia – bamboo, rattan, burlap, beeswax and earth pigments– Pich turns inwards towards his practice itself, its materiality and formal references.
Select solo exhibitions include Compound Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle (2011), Cambodian Rattan: The Sculptures of Sopheap Pich The Metropolitan Museum, NYC (2013), and his fourth solo exhibition with Tyler Rollins Fine Art (2013). Select group exhibitions include: dOCUMENTA 13 (2012), Singapore Biennale (2011), Asian Art Biennale in Taiwan (2011), Fukuoka Triennale (2009) and the Asia-Pacific Triennial (2009).