New York based artist Teching Hsieh has a long career of pushing his body, mind and sanity to the extreme for the sake of his performance art and last night saw the launch of one of his most known works One Year Performance 1980 - 1981 (Time Clock Piece) at Carriageworks. Signifying the first time Tehching Hsieh's solo work has exhibited on Australian soil.
For one year Tehching Hsieh documented every passing day by punching in to a time clock every hour on the hour. It may not sound like much of a feet but when you imagine not being able to sleep for more than say fifty minutes for a whole year, you can imagine that the proposition would take it's toll. And it did. Through pursuing a life of highly restrictive ritualised activity and sleep deprivation, Hsieh is said to have entered a delirium of altered consciousness.
The exhibition is a documentation of what really could have been a futile exercise of hard labour with no real result. Hsieh's genius was going beyond the time clock and capturing every hour with the single film frame. With every picture lined up one after the other, you visually see the physical toll the work has. A added bonus is the 6 minute film with all the film frames run to together to make a stop motion expose of the artists journey.
Another addition which elevated the performance further was Hsieh's use of a custom made uniform for the exercise. Surprisingly when viewing the multiple images of Hsieh, with each picture different from the last, every frame begins to take on a personality of its own. Thus viewing the piece as a whole has a element of looking at photo's of prisoners of war at a war museum. Frame after frame of tortured souls who are no more. Perhaps a testimony to the imprisoned state the artist subjected himself to for the sake of the performance.