Art/Life One Year Performance 1983–1984 (Rope Piece)藝術／生活 一年表演1983–1984 年
The entire artistic oeuvre of Tehching Hsieh consists of six performances, which the artist defines as his ‘lifeworks’. Hsieh carried out these performances with extreme rigour, establishing a set of rules and conditions and then adhering to them for an extended period of time—the first five of his performances lasted for one year and the sixth lasted for thirteen years. He adopted the aesthetics of administrative function, often incorporating elements like legal documents to emphasise the constraints he placed on his art and his life.
One Year Performance 1983–1984 (also known as Rope Piece) was a performance by Hsieh and the artist Linda Montano. The two spent an entire year bound together by an eight-foot rope tied around their waists. The rules of the artwork stipulated that they would not touch each other. The work speaks to issues like freedom, privacy, control, and commitment, as well as the way humans coexist and rely on each other. Daily activities such as sleeping, cooking, and bathing became constant physical and verbal negotiations in which the artists join their individual natures, including differences in gender, ethnicity, sensibility, and legal status in the United States. The work exists today as legal documentation attesting to Hsieh and Montano’s participation in the performance, and a series of photographs as a record of the artists’ time together and their exchanges. In its intense joining of two lives, Rope Piece prompts us to rethink the definition of artistic collaboration.