Waiting for the Ice melt by Nget Chanpenh
“Waiting for the Ice Melt” is an intimate pictorial diary in which the artist Nget Chanpenh retraces a 18-month period living under the influence of crystal meth (often referred to as “ice”) from June 2015 to December 2016.
With an average of one painting per month, he chronologically recounts the stages of his addiction. The series starts with his first taste, which he visually describes as being as innocuous as changing his hair color and spans throughout all the facets of his addiction and into withdrawal where he is left with nothing more than a “glimmer of hope.”
The series intimately captures the complex relationship of the artist to the drug: the anticipation, the high, the descent, the yearning, the absence, the weaning, the relapse, and the inevitable collateral damage.
Unlike other addicted artists, Chanpenh was able to continue painting throughout his ordeal, often forcing himself to do so. It was as if it was his duty to leave a testimony of what was happening to him. Despite his addiction Chanpenh continued painting his intimate, solitary images, treating his art as a form of psychotherapy which he inflicts upon himself, acting both as therapist and patient.