Metaphorical performance art projects are what define much of Tehching Hsieh’s practice. The 66-year-old conceptual artist is in Venice with an exhibition titled Doing Time, curated by British curator Adrian Heathfield. The show is a milestone in Hsieh’s 40-year career, as it marks the first time that several of his year-long works—from the One Year Performance series he started in New York in 1978 as an illegal immigrant—can be seen together in their fullest forms. The title Doing Time is both a nod to the epic duration of Hsieh’s artistic endeavours and his personal history: his first One Year Performance was spent in silence locked in a cage. It is also a deliberate reference to the very fitting location of the exhibition in the historic halls of the Palazzo delle Prigioni, the former prison of the Doge’s Palace. In exploring the notions of human endurance, self-discipline, freedom and physical and psychological control, Doing Time showcases philosophical investigations into the nature of time, life and being, making for a haunting study of struggle and resilience.
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