Adrian Heathfield writes on, curates and creates performance. His books include Out of Now, a monograph on the Taiwanese-American artist Tehching Hsieh and the edited collections Perform, Repeat, Record, Live: Art and Performance, Small Acts and Shattered Anatomies. His numerous essays have been translated into eight languages.

He was co-director of Performance Matters, a four-year AHRC funded research project on the cultural value of performance (2009–2013). From 2014-2016 he conducted the three year European Union funded creative research project Curating the Ephemeral on immaterial art and museal practices.

He co-curated the Live Culture events at Tate Modern, London (2003) and a number of other performance and durational events in European cities over the last sixteen years. He was a curatorial adviser and attaché for the 20th Biennale of Sydney and was an artistic director with the collective freethought of the 2016 Bergen Assembly, Norway. He was curator of Taiwan’s exhibition at the Biennale Arte 2017, Venice.

Heathfield has worked with many artists and thinkers on critical and creative collaborations including film dialogues, performance-lectures, dramaturgy, writing and workshop projects. He was President of Performance Studies international (2004–2007) and is Professor of Performance and Visual Culture at the University of Roehampton, London.

 

All images appear courtesy of their authors or copyright holders and should not be reproduced without permission.

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Doing Time

Biennale Arte 2017
57th International Art Exhibition – Viva Arte Viva
13 May – 26 November 2017
Palazzo delle Prigioni, Castello 4209, San Marco, Venice, Italy

Downtown Manhattan, 30th September 1978. Tehching Hsieh, a young Taiwanese artist, begins to make an exceptional series of artworks. Working outside the art world’s sanctioned spaces, Hsieh embarks on five consecutive yearlong performances. He starts each work by releasing a statement: a strict set of rules that will govern his behaviour for the entire year. These performances will be unprecedented in their use of physical difficulty over extreme durations; they will also be unyielding in their conviction that art is a living process.

Doing Time exhibits two of Hsieh’s One Year Performances together for the first time, assembling his accumulated documents and artefacts into detailed installations. In One Year Performance 1980-1981, Hsieh subjected himself to the dizzying discipline of clocking on to a worker’s time clock on the hour, every hour, for a whole year. In One Year Performance 1981-1982, Hsieh inhabited a further sustained deprivation: he remained outside for a year without taking any shelter. Each work convenes different methods of documentation, challenging what it might mean to archive a life. Together these monumental performances of subjection mount an intense and affective discourse on human existence, its relation to systems of control, to time and to nature. Hsieh’s fugitive presence – traced throughout – speaks both of the abject conditions and ingenuity of survival for those who have nothing. During the course of his One Year Performances Hsieh was an illegal immigrant.

The final room of Doing Time takes us back to three of Hsieh’s previously unseen works: short performances and photographs, all made in Taipei in 1973, before his emigration. At the close of the exhibition a documentary, Outside Again, returns Hsieh at the age of sixty-five to the original sites of his performances in Taipei and New York, making a meditation on the resonances of these far-sighted works.

Commissioned by Taipei Fine Arts Museum of Taiwan, with the support of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture, Republic of China (Taiwan), Taipei City Government, and the Department of Cultural Affairs of Taipei City Government.

Installation views: © Hugo Glendinning

Out of Now: The Lifeworks of Tehching Hsieh is the first major publication on Tehching Hsieh. To coincide with the exhibition at Venice Biennale, and for a limited time only, you can buy the paperback of Out of Now from Unbound for the discount price of £24 (RRP £32.95). Co-published by Live Art Development Agency and MIT Press. Unbound

Taiwan in Venice

Biennale Arte 2017

Outside Again

Doing Time Tehching Hsieh, Road Repair (detail), 1973. Photograph: Tehching Hsieh, © Tehching Hsieh. Courtesy of the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery.
Doing Time Tehching Hsieh, Exposure, 2016. Video still of performance, Taipei, 2016. Director of photography: Hugo Glendinning. Curator: Adrian Heathfield. © Hugo Glendinning & Tehching Hsieh. Courtesy of Tehching Hsieh. Supported by Taipei Fine Arts Museum of Taiwan.
Doing Time Adrian Heathfield and Hugo Glendinning, Outside Again, 2017. HD Video, 20mins. Production still, Taipei. Directed and edited by Adrian Heathfield and Hugo Glendinning. Director of photography: Hugo Glendinning. © Hugo Glendinning. Courtesy of the artists.
Doing Time Tehching Hsieh, One Year Performance 1980-1981. Performance, New York. Photograph: Michael Shen, © Tehching Hsieh. Courtesy of the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery.
Doing Time Tehching Hsieh, One Year Performance 1981-1982. ‘Life Image’. Performance, New York. © Tehching Hsieh. Courtesy of the artist, Gilbert & Lila Silverman and Sean Kelly Gallery.
Doing Time Tehching Hsieh, Jump (detail), 1973. Performance, Taipei. Photograph: Teh-Shin Hsieh, © Tehching Hsieh. Courtesy of the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery.