Linda Montano and Tehching Hsieh

Inspired by the aspiration to tie art and life together, Linda Montano and Tehching Hsieh engaged in a year long performance piece where they were literally tied together.  Prior projects executed by Tehching  focused on the notion of struggle, for instance in “the Cage” his struggle manifested in isolation,  with “Punch Time Clock” it was repetition.  Their three hundred and sixty five day collaboration for this piece dealt with the struggle stemming from codependent relationships.  “We cannot go in life alone,” (779)  Tehching says, yet the compromise and sacrafice that comes with sharing one’s life with another is not easy.  The reason the project went on for the duratiuon of a year secured that it took on the shape of a human experience rather than a performane. Their interest as artists was  to the blur the boundaries between art and life.  Art is ultimately the physical manifestation of lived experiences.

Being tied to each other forced both artists to pay greater attention to the pathological details of their existence.  Furthermore, it complicated the notion of gender roles, individualism and the ego. The work was rooted in sacrafice and to understand the suffering that inevitably stemmed from psychological, emotional or physical ties to another. Stripped naked, the experiment unveiled to them their weaknesses, desires and shortcomings.  As their time together progress so did their form of communication- evolving from verbal to physical to gestural and in its last phase non-verbal. As the year came to an end, they came away from the experience with the realization of life’s ephermal nature and a sense of being pyscholoigically tied to one another until death.


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