Taiwan Pavilion
Taiwan Pavilion
Palazzo delle Prigioni, Castello 4209
30122 Venezia VE
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reported by Stefano Giovanazzi
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Taiwan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale | Tehching Hsieh : Doing Time
Tehching Hsieh, One Year Performance 1980-1981. Performance, New York. Still images from 16mm film. В© Tehching Hsieh. Courtesy of the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery.

Taiwan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Tehching Hsieh
Doing Time

Collateral Event of the 57th Venice Biennale
May 13–November 26, 2017


Vernissage: May 10–11, 10am–8pm
Press conference and opening: May 11, 6–7pm

Talk events

Art of Existence
May 12, 2–4:30pm
Speakers: Tehching Hsieh, Adrian Heathfield, Carol Becker, Peggy Phelan and Jane Rendell
Fondazione Querini Stampalia

Wasting Time
November 24, 2–4:30pm
Speakers: Tehching Hsieh, Adrian Heathfield, Tim Ingold, Bojana Kunst and Jow Jiun Gong
Fondazione Querini Stampalia

On May 10, Taiwan’s exhibition for the Venice Biennale 2017—Doing Time—will open at the Palazzo delle Prigioni, Venice, Italy. The exhibition features the works of artist Tehching Hsieh, curated by Adrian Heathfield, and will be on view for the period of May 13 to November 26, 2017. Opening hours are from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am–6pm, and also on May 15, August 14, September 4, October 30, and November 20. Guided tours are available twice a day during opening hours.

In Manhattan’s downtown art scene in the late 1970s and early ’80s, the young Taiwanese artist Tehching Hsieh made an exceptional series of artworks. Working outside the art world’s sanctioned spaces and economies Hsieh embarked on five separate yearlong performances. In each, he made a strict rule that governed his behavior for the entire year. The performances were unprecedented in terms of their use of physical difficulty over extreme durations and in their absolute conception of art as a living process.

Doing Time exhibits two of Hsieh’s One Year Performances together for the first time, assembling his accumulated records and artifacts into detailed installations. In One Year Performance 1980-1981 (“Time Clock Piece”), Hsieh subjected himself to the dizzying discipline of clocking on to a worker’s time clock on the hour, every hour, for a whole year. In One Year Performance 1981-1982 (“Outdoor Piece”), Hsieh inhabited a further sustained deprivation: he remained outside for a year without taking any shelter. Together these monumental 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 abjection and ingenuity found in survival by those who have nothing. During the course of his One Year Performances Hsieh was an illegal immigrant.

The exhibition also takes its spectators back to three of Hsieh’s previously unseen works: short performances and photographs, all made in Taipei in 1973 before his emigration. Each piece singularly investigates the ground, its relation to organic events and to image capture. Together, the works chart Hsieh’s course away from abstract painting and mark his emerging interests in action, repetition and serial images. Hsieh has been actively engaged in this recovery of past works, and the exhibition involves a reconstruction of a lost film.

In addition to the revelation of Hsieh’s early artistic concerns, a new short documentary on the artist by photographer Hugo Glendinning, Outside Again, will be screened continuously, and a publication with new critical essays on the artist by Adrian Heathfield, Joshua Chambers-Letson and Jow Jiun Gong accompanies the exhibition. At the opening and close of Doing Time, Hsieh and Heathfield will be joined in talk events at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia by leading thinkers from the visual arts, performance, philosophy, anthropology and architecture. Speakers will respond to the exhibition and discuss the relation of Hsieh’s work to questions of endurance, labor and waste. Capacity is limited. Seating is on a first come first served basis. Please reserve your seat here:

Tehching Hsieh is a Brooklyn-based artist. He is represented by Sean Kelly Gallery, New York.

Adrian Heathfield is a curator, author and editor of many books on performance art including Out of Now and Live: Art and Performance. He is Professor of Performance and Visual Culture at the University of Roehampton, London, UK.

Carol Becker is the author of numerous books on contemporary art including The Subversive Imagination and Thinking in Place. She is Dean of Faculty and Professor of the Arts at Columbia University School of the Arts, USA.

Peggy Phelan is the author of key works on performance including Unmarked and Mourning Sex. She is Ann O’Day Maples Professor in the Arts, Professor of Drama and of English at Stanford University, USA.

Jane Rendell is the author of many works in spatial and architectural theory, including Site-Writing, and Art and Architecture. She is Professor of Architecture and Art, and Vice Dean of Research at the Bartlett, University College London, UK.

Tim Ingold is an anthropologist whose many books on art and nature include The Life of Lines and Being Alive. He is Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen, UK.

Bojana Kunst is a philosopher, performance theorist and author of Artist at Work. She is a Professor at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies at Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany.

Jow Jiun Gong is a critic, curator and translator of the Chinese language version of Out of Now. He is also Associate Professor and Director of the Doctoral Program in Art Creation and Theory, National Tainan University of the Arts, Taiwan.

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