Tehching Hsieh, art & live in action!


by Colaboratorio [art, space & movement]

Tehching Hsieh is an artist whom revolutionized the concept of the artistic world between the years 60s and 80s thanks to his performances where the time, the art and the life of the artist were the protagonists.

Hsieh was born in Nan – Chou, Taiwan. His first approximation to the art world was across the painting and his first solo show at the gallery of the American News Bureau in Taiwan. He made a performance action “Jump Piece” in wich he broke both of his ankles.Shortly after this show, Hsieh stopped painting. He trained as a sailor, wich he then used as a means to enter to the United States. In 1974, Hsieh arrived at the port of a small town in Philadelphia. He was an illegal immigrant for fourteen years until he was granted amnesty in the US in 1988.

Starting form the late 1970s, Hsieh made five One Year Performances and a thirdteen – year plan, inside and outside his studio in New York.



One Year Performance 1978–1979 (Cage Piece)

In this performance, which lasted from September 29, 1978 through September 30, 1979, the artist locked himself in a 11′6″ × 9′ × 8′ wooden cage, furnished only with a wash basin, lights, a pail, and a single bed.

One Year Performance 1980–1981 (Time Clock Piece)

For one year, from April 11, 1980 through April 11, 1981, Hsieh punched a time clock every hour on the hour. Each time he punched the clock, he took a single picture of himself, which together yield a 6 minute movie.

Documentation of this piece was exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2009, using film, punch cards and photographs.

This work was the first of Hsieh’s ever to be displayed in the UK at the Liverpool Biennal  in 2010.

One Year Performance 1981–1982 (Outdoor Piece)

In his third one year performance piece, from September 26, 1981 through September 26, 1982, Hsieh spent one year outside, not entering buildings or shelter of any sort, including cars, trains, airplanes, boats, or tents. He moved around New York City with a packbag and a sleeping bag.

Art / Life: One Year Performance 1983-1984 (Rope Piece)

In this performance, Hsieh and Linda Montano spent one year tied to each other with an 8-foot-long (2.4 m) rope. They had to stay in a same room while not allowed to touch each other until the end of the one year period. Both of them shaved their hair in the beginning of the year, and the performance was notarized initially by Paul Grassfield and later by Pauline Oliveros.

One Year Performance 1985–1986 (No Art Piece)

For one year, Hsieh did no art, spoke no art, saw no art, read no art, and did not enter any museum or gallery. He just went about life for one year.

Tehching Hsieh 1986–1999 (Thirteen Year Plan)

At the beginning of this epic piece, Hsieh declared, “Will make Art during this time. Will not show it publicly.” This plan began on his 36th birthday, December 31, 1986, and lasted until his 49th birthday, December 31, 1999.

At the end, on January 1, 2000 he issued his concluding report, “I kept myself alive. I passed the December 31st, 1999.” The report consisted of cutout letters pasted onto a single sheet of paper.

A time ago the project Turbulance form New I Remove and performing Arts, Inc. developed an Internet page in wich  appear two  persons realizing different activities. You can´t  observe the entire piece until complete one year (31536000 seconds) of watching . So now the spectator the one that him needs to dedicate his time to the piece instead of the artist. On having given itself of discharge you can guard the time that you have passed and this way to be accumulating it. The equipment of Colaboratorio has 00008066 seconds of visualization up to the publication of this note (January 28, 2011).

¿Will we manage to complete a year of visualization?

#1: image One Year Performance 1978–1979 (Cage Piece), source:
#2: poster 1 Tehching Hsieh 1986–1999 (Thirteen Year Plan), source:
#3: poster One Year Performance 1980–1981 (Time Clock Piece), source:
#4: poster One Year Performance 1981–1982 (Outdoor Piece), source:
#5: poster 2 One Year Performance 1978–1979 (Cage Piece), source:
Tehching Hsieh – Official Website
New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc.

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