Sopheap Pich: Building an Identity

Things are building up this week at the Henry as we look forward to the artist lecture and exhibition opening of Sopheap Pich: Compound tomorrow, Thursday night!

The Cambodian artist is here at the Henry to install Compound, a large scale sculpture originally constructed for the 2o11 Singapore Biennial. Its modular construction allows it to become an entirely new work in its reconfiguration in the Henry’s unique architecture of the East Gallery (photo at left.) In addition, the curatorial and graphics departments are putting the finishing touches on the graphic identity for this exhibition (photo at right.) A graphic identity is a visual communication system that uses logos, colors, fonts, and graphic styles to signify or identify an entity, grouping or organization. For the Henry, this includes design for all the materials—such as curator’s notes, artwork labels, vinyl artwork, postcards and posters—that you encounter when you visit any individual Henry exhibition. Each exhibition has a unique typographic treatment and graphic style that communicates integral themes or concepts of the exhibition and is consistently used across a wide variety of media to create a look that is expressive, complementary and cohesive, in service to supporting and engaging your experience of the art.

For Sopheap Pich: Compound, we were inspired by the artist’s impressive use of scale and his contemporary use of traditional materials such as bamboo and rattan. We selected a contemporary, geometric sans-serif typeface for the title treatment, the largest graphic element, and placed the letterforms vertically in a descending pattern, alluding to the height of Compound and its conceptual “reflection on the cycle of building and destruction in present-day Cambodia.” The supplemental typeface used in the artwork labels and large bodies of text has a subtle, angular edge that is simultaneously hard and soft, industrial and artistic; qualities that we recognize in Sopheap’s work.

In addition to the artist lecture and exhibition opening tomorrow, there are several events in conjunction with this exhibition that are not to be missed:

November 11-13 and November 18-19
Red Earth, Gold Gate, Shadow Sky
“The story of Cambodian refugees’ return home, and the heartbreaking loss of America,” a new play by Mark Jenkins at the University of Washington, with set design by Thomas Lynch, inspired by Sopheap Pich’s Compound

November 16
Boreth Ly: The Legacy of Displacement Memory, Identity, Homeland, and the Refugee Experience in the Contemporary Arts of Cambodia and Its Diaspora
A performance lecture with Boreth Ly, Assistant Professor of Southeast Asian Art History and Visual Culture at the University of California, Santa Cruz

February 18
Learning with Your Hands: A Basketry Workshop with Nhia Yia Heu
Learn techniques of traditional basketweaving with the renowned teacher and respected elder in the Hmong-American community

March 2
Public Forum: Collaborating Across Time, Space and Culture
Artist Don Fels and playwright/professor Mark Jenkins and members of the Cambodian community in a conversation about Sopheap Pich: Compound and the development of Red Earth, Gold Gate, Shadow Sky

Check out for the most up-to-date information and links to these events!


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