Sopheap Pich was born in Battambang, Cambodia, during a period of civil war. After fleeing first to Thailand and living in refugee camps, his family eventually immigrated to the United States. Cycle and many of Pich’s other works feature oblique references to his early experiences and to the materials common to daily life in Southeast Asia. After returning to Cambodia in 2002, Pich turned his attention to making sculptures that, like the artist himself, are a hybrid of cultural traditions. Using materials such as such as rattan, bamboo, and burlap culled from rice bags, he reimagines the formal structures of Western modern art, particularly the grid. In Cycle, the irregular grid becomes a reference to the body, thanks to its organ-like shape and the use of organic bamboo that, although fragile, proves resilient under pressure.
Label from We the People: New Art from the Collection, October 23, 2018–July 21, 2019