Sopheap Pich presents a new body of work for his fourth solo exhibition with Tyler Rollins Fine Art, Structures, taking place from October 29 through December 19, 2015. The exhibition marks his return to New York following his acclaimed 2013 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cambodian Rattan: The Sculptures of Sopheap Pich. The museum’s first solo show given to a contemporary Southeast Asian artist, it featured large biomorphic sculptures along with works from the Wall Reliefs series, which were debuted the previous year in a room-sized installation at Documenta (13) in Kassel, Germany. His exhibition at the gallery introduces two new series shown here for the first time: Wall Structures, imposing geometric compositions of raw bamboo and rattan, with complex grid patterns; and Bare Reliefs, more ethereal works in which thinner strands of bamboo and rattan create a rhythm of light and shadow, solid and void, accentuated by fire-darkened areas. Also for the first time, Pich incorporates a new material, stone found in local quarries – roughly carved or smoothly polished in the studio – which complements the organic materials. The exhibition includes new biomorphic sculptures, an important component of his work that has not been shown here in the gallery since his 2011 Morning Glory exhibition. He continues to be inspired by organic structures, whether of flora (vines, flowers, seeds) or fauna (in this case, deer antlers). With these, he explores the fluidity of line and the free expansion of volume, all delimited by the basic forms of typical natural structures – themes that are also at the core of his geometric works.
Pich is widely considered to be Cambodia’s most internationally prominent contemporary artist. Born in Battambang, Cambodia, in 1971, he moved with his family to the United States in 1984. After receiving his MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1999), he returned to Cambodia in 2002 and began working with local materials – primarily bamboo and rattan – to make sculptures inspired by bodily organs, vegetal forms, and abstract geometric structures. His childhood experiences during the genocidal conditions of late 1970s Cambodia had a lasting impact on his work, informing its themes of time, memory, and the body. His sculptures stand out for their subtlety and power, combining refinement of form with a visceral, emotive force.
Pich’s work has been featured in numerous international museum exhibitions and biennials in Asia, Europe, Australia, and the United States. His work is currently on view in the United States at Houston’s Asia Society Texas Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. Earlier this year, his works were featured in The Art of Our Time: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collections at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; Medium at Large at the Singapore Art Museum; and First Look: Collecting Contemporary at the Asian at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. His work is included in such major collections as: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; M+, Museum for Visual Culture, Hong Kong; Singapore Art Museum; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. Reviews and feature articles about Pich have appeared in such publications as Artforum, Art in America, ArtNews, Flash Art, The Art Newspaper, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2014, Art Asia Pacific called Pich “the Southeast Asian artist to watch at the moment.”