Tehching Hsieh – one year performance

Less than a week ago I had one of the best days of my life, a day with a very special person and the most amazing visit to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. I have been so busy with my day to day life that I have put my passion for art on a back burner, something that surely changed after this day. For 3 straight hours we walked the 6 floors of the Museum just drooling at the pieces and taking one photograph after another. As we reached the 5th and 6th floor, I was blown away… I was suddenly inches away from the most inspiring artists such as Miró, Matisse, Picasso, Warhol, Pollock, Dalí, Kandisky (made me tear), Rousseau, Gauguin, Cézanne, Van Gogh and many many others… incredible, so hard to describe how amazing it made me feel.

Having said that, there was one piece of modern art that really caught my attention… a chinese artist named Tehching Hsieh who’s passion for art just blew me away. Hsieh’s art is most known as “one-year-performances” and that is exactly what he has done, unique artistic perfomances that last exactly 1 year. The one on display dates back to 1978 where Hsieh vowed to “seal himself in his studio, in solitary confinement inside a cell-room measuring 11’6 x 9 x 8.” for one complete year. During this time, Hsieh would not converse, read, write, listen to the radio or watch tv until he “unsealed” himself a year later. A friend of his would visit him daily, to take food, clean clothes, pick up his waste (yes, he would shit in a bucket) and take a daily picture of him.

The display at the MoMa was a straight line of Hsieh’s daily photographs, one per day… very chilling to view. It started off with Hsieh’s fresh face and haircut and ended with an aged look and hair down to his shoulders. Crazy? maybe, but incredibly creative and full of passion for his creations. Hsieh is considered one of the most radical artists of contemporary art. And this does not end here, from 1978 to 1986, Hsieh did 5 one-year performances almost back to back, from punching a time clock in his studio every hour for one year to tying himself up to his wife with an 8 foot rope, also for a complete year.

Tehchings last performance?  A 13 year plan, from 1986 to 1999, he would create art but not show it publicly… since then, Hsieh has exhibited his work worldwide.

Inspiring, a great example of how passion (and a little crazyness) can drive you to do great things…