Tehching Hsieh is a performance artist based in New York City. Born in Taiwan in 1950, Hsieh studied painting until his obligatory military enlistment in 1970. He came to NYC in 1974. His performance art consists of five one-year performances followed by a final, 13-year performance. Hsieh uses his own life as a medium for his work.
The Cage Piece, One Year Performance 1978-1979
For his first performance, Hsieh constructed a cage, very similar to a prision cell, in his loft at 111 Hudson Street. He remained locked in this cage for one year, beginning September 30, 1978. He did not talk to anyone, read anything, listen to the radio, or consume any media during this time. Every day, an assistant brought him food and removed his waste. Eighteeen times throughout the year, the loft was opened to the pulic for observation. Hsieh did not speak once while locked in the cage; he did not talk to his assistant or the visitors. Hsieh scratched a mark on the wall and took a self portait daily. The cage was sealed by a lawyer, who witnessed that the cage remained locked for the entire year.