Li-E Chen, Research, New York | 12 – 22 December 2017

On two artists who both work with Silence: Robert Wilson and Tehching Hsieh

  • Four Days to Robert Wilson’s archives in NYC
  • Two Visits to Tehching Hsieh’s studio in NYC
  • One Day to The Watermill Center and Robert Wilson’s Collections in Long Island, outside NY
  • Two Days to The Columbia University Libraries Rare Books and Collections on Robert Wilson’s Papers 1969 – 1995 in NY

Photo by Li-E Chen, Research on The Robert Wilson Archives at the Byrd Hoffman Watermill Foundation – Robert Wilson: HAMLET: a monologue


Reflections on my research visits December 2017:

  • How do I begin?
  • What do I want to write?
  • … before language from Hsieh’s action and Wilson’s opera
  • dictionary: action
  • dictionary: opera

I do think the lifework of Hsieh’s posters and statements have already have given me a great appreciation of the artist’s work. To me, the documentations were his witnesses and evidence, each has a life of its own in each duration. The duration of life itself whether it is seen or unseen, it is less important. But his labour of passing time and wasting time show in his posters and statements that says a lot to me for my imagination and breath into the artist’s work.

‘The word opera means work if you go back to the Latin. It was the beginning.’
– Robert Wilson

It is also the plural form of ‘opus’ which is Latin for work, labour, a work. I am exploring Tehching Hsieh’s work of ‘no-work’ for further development of the project. I am not responding to his biography, nor am I focusing on selected records of his conceptual documentations.

I do hope to develop my own way of considering a precise relationship with time the way that Robert Wilson’s has with his aesthetic of seeing and hearing, and Tehching Hsieh’s has with his aesthetic of living and thinking.


I returned to London 1-1-2018 | Happy New Year 2018

Very excited to see Hsieh’s first Chinese video interview being published with English translation. Published by 藝術很有事 Inside the Arts 12-1: Tehching Hsieh’s Doing Time on Jan 1, 2018.

‘Everything I did, or anything I didn’t do, are in fact a part of my life’s work, … My documentation is only beginning for others to follow and a trigger for their thoughts, to feel and to imagine the things I did.’

– Tehching Hsieh

This is a very fascinating interview of Tehching Hsieh’s Doing Time. It was my first time that I heard the artist speaking about his work in Chinese to the public.


Blog post (4 of 8) JAN, 2018 |