Professor Adrian Heathfield from the Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance opened the Doing Time exhibition at the 57th Venice Biennale, which features the works of the renowned artist Tehching Hsieh. Housed in the Palazzo delle Prigioni, close to St. Mark's Square, Doing Time is the most comprehensive exhibition of the artist's work to date. Detailed installations of two of Hsieh's One Year Performances – 'Time Clock Piece' and 'Outdoor Piece' – are on show, in which he pursued unprecedented acts of endurance, as well as three previously unseen works for the camera: Road Repair, Exposure and Jump.
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Taiwan's Minister of Culture Li-Chiun Cheng joined Professor Heathfield for a curator's tour of the exhibition, followed by an opening ceremony with a large gathering of artists, museum professionals, arts journalists and members of the public. Chun-Teh Hsieh, Acting Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Yong-Fung Chung, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs, Taipei City Government in Taiwan joined Heathfield and Hsieh in making speeches.
Heathfield spoke of the prescience of Hsieh's work in the 1980s, its evocation of conditions now facing many across the globe: "the struggle to survive, migration and alienation." He also commented on the ways in which these performances "predicted contemporary conditions of surveillance, control and accelerated life."
In her speech the Minister of Culture noted that, "The last thing the art of Hsieh needs is government approval or recognition. Frameworks such as 'nation' might to Hsieh be a form of limitation. Anyone that has an experience with philosophy – when coming face to face with Hsieh's work – regains a sense of art as an instinct and 'philosophy' once again becomes a verb, an active term."
Doing Time is organised by Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan and remains open until 23 November 2017. Further information on the exhibition, including a film on Hsieh by Professor Heathfield, can be found here: www.taiwaninvenice.org
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