Tehching Hsieh (謝德慶) is a semi-retired duress artist best known for his yearlong performances. Each work convenes different methods of documentation, challenging what it might mean to archive a life.
The disciplined 68-year-old is best known for his "art is a living process" conviction. His monumental works taking place outside the art world's sanctioned places often involve time, deprivation, and abject conditions. The Pingtung native starts each work by releasing a statement outlining a strict set of rules that will govern his behavior for the entire year.
Take, for example, "One Year Performance 1980-81," in which Hsieh subjected himself to clocking on to a worker's time clock on the hour, every hour, for a whole year; and "One Year Performance 1981-82,” when he remained outside for a year without taking a shelter.
These astounding performances of subjection mount an intense and affective discourse on human existence, its relation to systems of control, to time and to nature. Hsieh's fugitive presence ― traced throughout ― speaks both of the abject conditions and ingenuity of survival for those who have nothing. During the course of his "One Year Performances” Hsieh was an illegal immigrant in the United States … (read more)
"There is a very real suggestion of the Sisyphean in the immense undertakings to which Hsieh — the performance artist whom Marina Abramovic has dubbed 'the master' — has submitted himself in the name of art." — Darryn King, The Australian
"Art takes total commitment, but few artists maintain it around the clock." — Roberta Smith, The New York Times
"Unlike most production-oriented artists who make objects in their studios, one might say that Hsieh neither works nor makes work. Rather, he performs his conceptual projects in a manner that highlights the presence of everyday or routine time." — Robert C. Morgan, Hyperallergic
"If any artist knows about endurance it is Hsieh, a Taiwanese artist who has created some of the most extreme performance art ever made …They are also – in this current age of distraction and endless stream of information and entertainment and our desire for comfort — scarcely believable. Why would someone put them through such intentional pain and discomfort?" — Brigid Delaney, The Guardian