Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Plastic chair amplifies social dichotomy




Plastic chair amplifies social dichotomy

Plastic chair amplifies social dichotomy

120706_04d

“One of the reasons why I love the short stool is its functionality for everyday people in Cambodia, in Vietnam, I’ve seen it in Thailand. I love it. The little red stool everywhere on the streets. I was just drawn to it being red.”

So says artist and Studio Revolt founder Anida Yoeu Ali. Assembling a body of work out of her exploration of a crimson red colour motif, Ali threw herself into a space where she says she could “just explore the hell out of it.”

Her obsession with the versatility of the ubiquitous red plastic stool dominates her exhibition, The Space Between Inside/Outside, currently on show at Java Café.

The most thought-provoking installation is tucked downstairs. A curious juxtaposition of the white space associated with art galleries and the roadside eating habits of locals, View From Here is a collection of four tables set low off the ground

“The public is welcome to sit there,” Ali says. “The only thing is, if you want to sit there, you have to use the little red stools to sit on. What I notice about being here at Java is that there’s so many local people that pass by this place and in particular that window that’s downstairs, they always kind of peer in. I’m kind of taking advantage of that sight line and making that corner an exhibition.”

“So I’m hoping the public will just engage in that space, because I know Java gets so busy during the lunch that they use every table. And I also think it would be interesting for people on the outside to peer in and see a bunch of foreigners sitting on some little red stools on a very white kind of space.”

Two blocks east, by the entrance to the Kabko Market, students from the nearby schools dine from styrofoam trays before the long moto ride home, perched on red stools amongst the detritus that has built up on the kerb over the course of the day.

To say so might be extrapolating far beyond the artist’s intent, but for locals to peer in from outside into a space where well-heeled expats dine on $5 paninis, while seated on the same red stools as the locals down the road, is one of the boldest works of art this city has seen in recent memory.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sean Gleeson at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15