Meas Sokhorn does not take any thing or situation at face value. Working largely with found materials or discarded domestic objects, his sculptural works thrive on what he sees as unfulfilled potential and unknown possibilities. ‘Pore’ is a lament to the creativity and physicality of diminished craftsmanship. Superseded by mechanised processes with the capacity for faster and cheaper results, the imagination of the craftsman has been excluded and the job has become solely a means to an end, forcing people to live day to day.
‘Pore’ presents a series of sculptures composed from wire, manual labouring tools, and found objects he recovered from ‘et chai’ or rubbish collectors. A wood planer, a cooking pot, a pair of flip-flops—these objects are physical representations of cultural practices displaced by modernity. People must reclaim ownership and control over their livelihoods by finding new ways to explore their practices. To avoid economic and creative stagnation, for Khorn, channelling time and enthusiasm into where your talents and skills lie is critically important personally and professionally. As he says, ‘if you don’t struggle to push boundaries, you will be stuck forever’.
More than just simply collecting the city’s detritus to create a cleaner environment, Khorn’s work is a powerful metaphor for his frustration at society’s apathy. Wrapped individually in metal wire, these tools may seem dispossessed of their prescribed use and redundant. On the one hand, this can read as a sympathetic acknowledgement of the enforced situation many craftsman or physical labourers finds themselves in. Restricted by poor wages, earning enough money to survive must be the priority. On the other hand, Khorn argues that these limitations are not always just the cause of external factors—personal fear and indifference can also play a part.
This use of accessible objects to create artworks is an extension of Khorn’s previous works where he has formed installation pieces from bicycles, plastic string and chopsticks. His re-working and adapting the form and functionality of objects, creates new potential in terms of how they are used, perceived, and interpreted. Harnessing the individual properties of each material or object, they simultaneously challenge how they can function when combined with others. This process offers his materials the possibility of becoming something else, resulting in an interrogated version of what they were. In this sense, he gives his objects as well as the viewer a new kind of conceptual freedom.
These sculptures are an attempt at reconciling lost or broken connections: the inspiration between the human hand and materials, and the affiliations between people who work in this way. Khorn’s personal, physical engagement with the tools not only honours the intensive processes of those who work with them, but also reactivates them as objects, presenting them with a different potential purpose and meaning. Whilst he is not suggesting that these objects are 'resolved', they do not provide complete answers, they do convey a latent aptitude for something more.
(text by Natalie Pace, independent curator)