Tehching Hsieh (謝德慶), a duress artist best known for his yearlong performances, will head the Taiwan Pavilion at Venice Biennale this year.
The disciplined 66-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.
Titled "Doing Time,” the Taiwan Pavilion will showcase "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. Each work convenes different methods of documentation, challenging what it might mean to archive a life.
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.
"Doing Time” will also make public three short performances and photographs for the first time, and screen "Outside Again,” a documentary following Hsieh's visit to the original sites of his performances in Taipei and New York.
The 57th Venice Biennale will also feature four other Taiwanese participants - Lee Ming-wei (李明維), a relational artist who makes participatory art; Lee Kuan-yu (李光裕), a sculptor whose installations are on display at the NTU Hospital Station on the Taipei Metro; Shih Li-jen (施力仁), a maker of giant, abstract rhinoceros statues; and Kao Hui-pao (高寶惠), a contextual designer.
Lee Ming-wei is the only other Taiwanese artist apart from video maker Chen Chih-jen (陳界仁) to receive an invitation from the Venice Biennale's International Art Exhibition.
‘Tehching Hsieh: Doing Time' @ 57th Venice Biennale