Tehching Hsieh to represent Taiwan at the 2017 Venice Biennale

Tehching Hsieh, One Year Performance (Cage Piece), 1978–9. Photo: Cheng Wei Kuong. Copyright © 1979 Tehching Hsieh. Courtesy the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery, New York

The Taipei Fine Art Museum (TFAM) has announced that performance artist Tehching Hsieh will represent Taiwan at the 57th Venice Biennale. For the pavilion, curated by British curator Adrian Heathfield, Hsieh will develop a new iteration of his One Year Performances (1978–99), a body of extremely physical and psychological challenges which investigate the nature of time and the existential dilemmas of the modern human condition. For his 1978 Cage Piece, the artist spent 12 months in near-solitary confinement in a cage he built in his studio with the bare necessities, and the interdiction to talk, read, write or watch TV. 

Some of Hsieh's iconic pieces have been shown at MoMA and the Guggenheim in New York, both in 2009. His radical practice has been – and still remains – highly influential in the realm of performance art in Taiwan and beyond. In 2014, Shanghai-born, New York-based Miao Jiaxin paid homage to him in his Jail's Seeking Prisoners project, for which he converted a small room in Brooklyn into a cell and advertised it for rent at a rate of $1 per night on Airbnb, on the condition that the 'prisoners' respected similar constraints as in the Cage Piece, for three hours a day and with the event filmed and broadcast online in real time (read our review by David Everitt Howe, who lived up to the challenge)

28 July 2017.