‘compound’ by sopheap pich, 2011 image © designboom

cambodian artist sopheap pich develops large-scale sculptures that draw on the history of his native country, daily life and own personal experiences and surroundings. his installation ‘compound’ is a construction using agricultural and craft materials found throughout cambodia: bamboo, metal wire, plywood and rattan, developed as a response to the dramatic progress of urban development and its detrimental effects on the environment. the towering structure is situated within the foyer of the national museum of singapore, on show as part of the 2011 singapore art biennale, 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 interspersed tubular shapes suggest bombs or ammunition, and the threat of destruction.

sopheap pich: compound image © designboom

pich’s multi-part sculpture responds to the emergence of high-rise architecture in cambodia, using materials such as bamboo, sustained by the country’s wetlands and lakes, that are now being drained for development. this cityscape is derived from traditional techniques used in craft and agriculture, but also reminds us of the computer software used in architecture and engineering offices.

it took about 8 months to create the structure that consists of 83 individual units of various dimensions, in total measuring approximate 400 x 250 x 250cm.

sopheap pich: compound up close of the bamboo and rattan construction image © designboom

sopheap pich: compound detail of the metal wire used to hold the bamboo and rattan strips together image © designboom

sopheap pich: compound installation view of ‘compound’ within the foyer of the national museum of singapore image © designboom

sopheap pich: compound view of the installation from the second floor image © designboom

sopheap pich was born in battambang, cambodia in 1971. he now lives and works in phnom penh.