Tehching Hsieh

One Year Performance, USA, 1980-81

Video, black & white, no sound, 6 min.

Heisha creates long-range performance art items that measure human endurance. Having emigrated to the USA from Taiwan in the eighties, integration into his new environment was not easy, requiring him to confront a reality that would be reflected in his artistic endeavors.

Heisha is a stage artist; His work is displayed as performance art, the leading actor being the artist himself. His works lack an unfolding narrative, bearing only the essence of a message that he transmits with minimalist means and laconic language.

“Time”, exhibited at the entrance to our exhibition, has been assembled from still photographs joined together into a film that took an entire year to create. From the identical position, alongside the attendance clock, the artist stresses his obligation to clock himself in, every hour of every day.
If you wish, this is a portrait of the human predicament to which we are bound, in the factory or office or wherever we are employed.

Are we masters of our own time? Are we left with the choice and option of freedom and liberty? The artist believes we are not, as he hastens to apologize for the 134 occasions when he was late in getting up and therefore didn’t get there on time to punch his card, despite having done so successfully just 8760 times …