Theresa Hak Kyung Cha: Avant Dictee

When: Jan. 31-April 22 2018

This exhibition of the work of late artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha is organized around the chapters of her 1982 book Dictee, a seminal work in the canon of Korean American writings, as well as Third Wave feminism. The majority of the work — experimental films, unique ephemera, and performance art (shown here in photographs) — was made in the 1970s during Cha’s time as a student at UC Berkeley and explores themes largely connected to her experience being an outsider forced to learn English, and later studying French, as well as her parents’ own painful experience of being forbidden to speak Korean under Japanese rule. Although subtle and spare in its presentation, Cha’s thoughtful, considered work offers layers of possible meaning and ultimately prompts us to reflect on language’s power, which can be both damaging and liberating — a timely message in today’s war of words.

Kathleen Richards

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