Sopheap Pich at Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation

Collection+: Sopheap Pich is the second exhibition in the Collection+ series to be presented at the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation in Sydney and the 19th project since the foundation launched in 2008

27 Sep 2013

Above: Sopheap PICH, Cocoon 2, 2011, rattan, wire, burlap, beeswax, earth pigment,  191 x 85 x 75 cm
Collection: Gene & Brian Sherman
Photo: Brett Boardman
Image courtesy the artist

Collection+ is devoted to an individual artist represented in the Gene & Brian Sherman Collection of contemporary art, which now contains in excess of 800 artworks. The exhibitions bring together work from other private and public collections, exploring in the process, how a single artist can unite collectors across time and place.

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Sopheap PICH, Cocoon 2, 2011, rattan, wire, burlap, beeswax, earth pigment,  191 x 85 x 75 cm
Collection: Gene & Brian Sherman
Photo: Brett Boardman
Image courtesy the artist

Sopheap Pich is widely considered to be Cambodia’s most internationally prominent contemporary artist, having last year exhibited in a solo exhibition at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as being included in dOCUMENTA(13), Kassel, Germany.

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Sopheap PICH, Hanging Around, 2011, rattam, wire, burlap, beeswax, charcoal, 167 x 30 x 11 cm
Collection: Gene & Brian Sherman
Photo: Brett Boardman
Image courtesy the artist

Pich was born in 1971 in Cambodia, a country subjected to terror and genocide inflicted on the population by Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime. As a young boy during these turbulent years, Pich helped his parents make fish traps, and turned his hand to making toys and other hunting instruments from whatever material was available.

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Sopheap PICH, Hanging Around, 2011, rattam, wire, burlap, beeswax, charcoal, 167 x 30 x 11 cm
Collection: Gene & Brian Sherman
Photo: Brett Boardman
Image courtesy the artist

At the age of eight, Pich fled with his family to a makeshift refugee camp on the Thai border before arriving at an official United Nations refugee camp. Further refugee camps followed in the Philippines, before the family secured passage to America, where they arrived in 1984.

Pich was educated in the USA at the University of Massachusetts and the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2002 he returned to live and work in Cambodia where he turned from painting to making abstract sculptural forms – ripe with memory and presence – from materials such as bamboo, rattan and hessian, which are now his preferred medium.

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Sopheap PICH, Hanging Around, 2011, rattam, wire, burlap, beeswax, charcoal, 167 x 30 x 11 cm
Collection: Gene & Brian Sherman
Photo: Brett Boardman
Image courtesy the artist

His elegant sculptural works – often over several metres in dimension – can be hung from ceilings or walls, or exhibited casually lying across a floor like elegant byproducts of nature, the shapes of which they so eloquently mimic.

Sopheap Pich first came to the attention of Dr Gene Sherman at the 2006 Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art. Captivated by the materiality, resonances and form of his sculptural abstract works, two pieces were acquired for the Gene & Brian Sherman Collection.

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Sopheap PICH, Seated Buddha, 2011, rattan, bamboo, wire, plywood, 256 x 220 x 110 cm.
Collection: The Franks-Suss Collection.
Photo: Brett Boardman
Image courtesy the artist

For Collection+, an active curatorium, consisting of Dr Gene Sherman, Erin Gleeson (Artistic Director and Co-Founder of SA SA BASSAC, Phnom Penh), Dolla Merrillees (SCAF’s Associate Director), Aaron de Souza (Gene & Brian

Sherman Collection Manager) and Michael Moran (SCAF Exhibition Manager) worked with the artist to source works and collectors from far afield. Lenders to the exhibition include public galleries and private collections in Brisbane, Sydney, London, Cambodia and France.

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Sopheap PICH, Seated Buddha, 2011, rattan, bamboo, wire, plywood, 256 x 220 x 110 cm.
Collection: The Franks-Suss Collection.
Photo: Brett Boardman
Image courtesy the artist

The exhibition features Seated Buddha, 2011 from the Frank-Suss Collection. At over 2.5 metres in height the transparent and majestic bamboo, wire and rattan piece is one of Pich’s most profound works perfectly capturing the elusive nature of Buddhism infused with a contemporary Cambodian aesthetic.

Collection+: Sopheap Pich will be launched by Dr Michael Brand, Director, Art Gallery of New South Wales on Thursday 3 October at 7 pm and will be preceded by an artist conversation with Annette Shun Wah and Sopheap Pich at 4.30pm.

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Sopheap PICH, Seated Buddha, 2011, rattan, bamboo, wire, plywood, 256 x 220 x 110 cm.
Collection: The Franks-Suss Collection.
Photo: Brett Boardman
Image courtesy the artist

The exhibition will be complemented by a comprehensive Culture + Ideas series of talks, film screenings and children’s workshops. A full-colour catalogue with a preface by Gene Sherman, essay by Erin Gleeson, artist interview by Dolla Merrillees and an introduction by Michael Young will be published by Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation.

The exhibition runs from 4 October – 14 December 2013.

sherman-scaf.org.au