2013, Canes, metal frame chairs, Dimensions variable, Series of 2

By LEE CHOONG YUAN, LORRAINE, Student, National Institute of Education

The rattan cane is an object imbued with significance and meaning. This relates to the cultural significance we attribute to it, from seeing it as a household item alongside a disciplinary symbol. The relationship we have with such an object shifts from our own experiences with or without it in our childhood, which informs the future meanings it will take, when we deliberate how we will discipline the next generation.

The work thus comes out of the desire to bring the cane into consideration in a whimsical manner, as the audience is invited to sit on the chairs by choice. The functions of both the cane and the chair come into play and this recognition of both functions triggers imagined sensations and evokes memories. By choice the audience will contact the canes, which can be a manner of overcoming past experiences (where contact for punishment reasons is never by choice). Perhaps this revisiting can help each individual make some sense of their past and current relationship with the object.

The combination of rattan canes and the frame of chairs is a literal joining of separate objects to create a platform for inquiry. This platform comes in two seats where, if willing, people may dialogue out their thoughts and cross refer their experiences and leave with new understandings.

The work does not aim to provide a stance on the use and effects of the rattan cane as a disciplinary tool, but calls the reading from the audience, based on their individualised encounters with this particular disciplinary object.

Lesson Ideas for Please Sit (2013) by Lee Choong Yuan, Lorraine

This lesson is suitable for students in: Secondary/JC 1

Artwork title: Please Sit

Name of artist: Lee Choong Yuan, Lorraine

School: National Institute of Education

Possible Guiding Questions

1. What do you see?

2. What kind of functions do they serve?

3. Why do you think the artist chose to combine the materials in this manner?

4. How does the rattan cane affect the function of the chair?

5. How does the chair frame affect the function of the rattan cane?

6. What other works do you know that combine things with different functions together?

left: Meret Oppenheim,1936, Object(Le Déjeuner en fourrure)
Right: Man Ray, 1921, Cadeu (Gift)

Possible Elegant Art Tasks

Starting point: Art history

In this lesson idea, students could be asked to think about Dada and Surrealism in art. The teacher could show images of artworks from these art movements, and to discuss their significant visual characteristics and ideas behind the works. The teacher can facilitate an Exquisite corpse exercise, related to words or images, to get students to see the possibilities of seemingly random juxtaposition. A possible elegant art task could be:

Design and construct a hybrid object

Using at least 2 (and at most 3) objects with functions that are recognisable and different.

That affects and changes the function of the final hybrid object and/or changes the individual function of the original objects. The objects can be as absurb or funny as they can be.

*Students are encouraged to use ready-made objects.

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