2017 Venice Biennale

Tehching Hsieh Will Rep Taiwan in Venice in 2017

A statement that Tehching Hsieh issued at the conclusion of his 13-year piece.COURTESY THE ARTIST

A statement that Tehching Hsieh issued at the conclusion of his 13-year piece.


Here is some heartening news to start the morning: Taiwan has tapped the great Tehching Hsieh to represent it at the 2017 Venice Biennale, according to ArtAsiaPacific.

Hsieh, who is 65, is best known for a series of heroic yearlong performances that he staged in New York in the late 1970s and ’80s, testing the limits of his physical and mental endurance as well as the norms surrounding human behavior. For a year between September of 1978 and September of 1979 he lived in a cage. Between September 1981 and September 1982, he spent a year living outside, declining to enter any buildings or vehicles.

The Taipei Fine Arts Museum is heading up Taiwan’s pavilion in Venice next year, and Adrian Heathfield is handling curatorial duties. The show will be situated in the Palazzo delle Prigioni Venice, a former prison, which Heathfield described as “an ideal setting for the work of an artist who understands more than most…the meaning and cost of ‘doing time,’ and the nature of lives lived at the edges of what we call society.”

Hsieh was born in Nan-Chou, Taiwan, and made his home in the United States in 1974. His longest durational artwork stretched 13 years, from December 31 (his birthday) of 1986 to December 31 of 1999, during which time he vowed to make art but not to show it publicly. On January 1, 2000, he released a statement that read, “I kept myself alive. I passed the Dec. 31, 1999.”

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