Compound | Sopheap Pich

Reported by Gaby So

Sopheap Pich was born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 1971. He lives and works in Phnom Penh. He is a Cambodian sculptor.

Sopheap Pich spent half of his life abroad, most of it in the United States, where he moved with all his family in 1984. In Amherst, Massachussets, where he received his education. later, he traveled, studied and lived in Miami, Chicago, France and Boston where he graduated with a Masters of Arts. In 2002, Sopheap Pich decided to go back to live in Cambodia. 7 years later, he found a suitable space for work and  found his voice, abandoning painting for sculpting. He uses local materials like rattan and bamboo for his sculptures.

Sopheap Pich develops large scale sculptures, and he draws inspiration from the history of his native country, daily life and his own personal experiences and surroundings. His installation, ‘Compound’ is a construction using agricultural and craft materials found throughout cambodia like, bamboo, metal wire, plywood and rattan. He uses these materials as a response to the dramatic progress of urban development and its harmful effects on the environment. I feel that he is drawing attention to the idea that where there is rapid progress, there is also destruction. Though the piece’s stacked geometric structures suggest architecture, the  dispersed tube-like shapes resemble bombs or bullets to me. like the light and dark side to a situation.

His sculpture was at the entrance of the National Museum Of Singapore. When I first saw it, i was in awe of it, not just because of its immense size, but it’s workmanship and intricacy. He used metal wire to hold everything together and I thought that it was really amazing that he was
able to do that with such a huge sculpture. I feel that he is trying to raise awareness to Cambodia and its progress by using materials that is almost ‘traditional’ and sculpting such a grand piece. There were so many feeling that i got when i saw the sculpture. The most prominent was shock because it was so big and as i started to look at it closely i say the joints that were held together by metal wire and i saw that there were many smaller parts that made it leave such an impact visually. I felt it was a very emotional sculpture for the artist as it had so much to do with his native country, Cambodia.


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