BERKELEY, CA.- The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
presents an innovatively organized exhibition of work by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (19511982), the first solo presentation in more than a decade of work by the accomplished artist, filmmaker, and writer. Theresa Hak Kyung Cha: Avant Dictee features nearly fifty of Chas works in a range of media, organized for the first time into distinct thematic groupings inspired by the ten chapters of her iconic 1982 book Dictee.
Drawing from Chas rarely exhibited archiveswhich were donated to BAMPFA in 1992Theresa Hak Kyung Cha: Avant Dictee captures the interdisciplinary scope of Chas artistic output, which encompassed photography, poetry, film, video, live performance, mail art, sculpture, works on paper, and more. The selected works highlight the artists interest in the spiritual and aesthetic dimensions of language, which is also a central focus of Dicteea formally ambitious work that includes passages in English, French, and Korean. The exhibition is organized into ten sections that correspond to the chapters of Dictee, with excerpts from the book displayed alongside individual works to illuminate connections and themes that extend throughout the artists practice.
Born in South Korea, Cha immigrated with her family to the United States as a child and settled in the Bay Area, where she studied French at San Franciscos Convent of the Sacred Heart before enrolling at UC Berkeley. Much of the work in Theresa Hak Kyung Cha: Avant Dictee was created during Chas time as a student in Berkeley, where she earned four degrees and worked as an employee of BAMPFA. The exhibition includes rarely seen correspondence and other ephemera from Chas life, which ended in 1982 with her untimely death at the age of 31.
By exploring Theresa Hak Kyung Chas art through the lens of Dictee, and vice versa, the exhibition offers viewers an opportunity to appreciate the global resonance of the artist's oeuvre and the ways in which it was profoundly interconnected across works and media, returning again and again to certain key themes, said Assistant Curator Stephanie Cannizzo, who curated the exhibition.
We are excited to introduce Chas work to a new generation while at the same time offering a fresh take on this tremendously important and original artist, said BAMPFA Director and Chief Curator Lawrence Rinder, who has previously curated multiple exhibitions of Chas work. This exploration of Chas oeuvre through the lens of Dictee could really only happen at BAMPFA, where we are privileged to hold such an extraordinarily deep archive of the artists work and ephemera.