I looked around at all of the different galleries on campus today and the Merlino gallery right away snatched my interest and surprise. There was a bright pink sign on the door saying “explicit material inside” and this gathered up my curiosity. Right behind the door was a giant masterpiece of plastered and sculptured sexual body parts on the makeshift sculpted wall. These body parts belonged to 9 different males and females and were placed on the wall right side up, sideways, and upside down. Chhin explained how making a sculpture of a hand would take around 10 minutes whereas a plaster of someone’s bottom will take anywhere around 30 minutes to an hour and this wall took about three days to make! She said it came from three different girls who waited on lying down on their stomachs as I didn’t understand how they could stand like that for so long! On the opposite side of the plastered wall there was a lit up figure of several vulvas put together to make a light.
So the reason Chhin decided to make sexual body parts was to bring something usually people feel uncomfortable about right up to their faces. She wanted to surprise people, which also holds true to the mysterious black box with holes in it behind the wall of sexual body parts. Some classmates and I noticed hand sanitizer on top of the box and wondered “are we supposed to put our hands in these holes?” We kept telling the others to put their hands in first, I have to admit I was a little bit nervous about doing it. Then we read the title of the exhibit above the box that read “curiosity killed the cat and satisfaction brought it back.” So we began to cool down a bit about what was in there. Finally I put my hand into the holes and I grabbed a fake breast that felt rubbery and real. I was definitely shocked but then wanted to see what was in the other holes. The title made me laugh because it was totally true what happened to me.
A little about Chhin is that she’s a senior at CSULB majoring in sculpting but she still has about one to two years left here. After taking 3D art in high school, she knew she wanted to be an arts major. The reason she chose sculpting was because she can use a bunch of materials. This exhibit was her first time doing life castings and she is probably going to wait about a month or two before doing more life castings. The hardest part about being a sculpteror is finding out what to do with the piece after it was used as she doesn’t know what to do with the plastered wall of sexual body parts.