© Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Life Mixing, 1975
© Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Untitled, 1980 – a clear glass jar with lid containing 5 pieces of paper with type-written text and black string.
© Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, from It’s Almost That, 1977
© Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Exilee, 1980
“From the mid-1970s until her death at age 31 in 1982, Korean-born artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha created a rich body of conceptual art that explored displacement and loss. Her works included artists’ books, mail art, performance, audio, video, film, and installation. Although grounded in French psychoanalytic film theory, her art is also informed by far-ranging cultural and symbolic references, from shamanism to Confucianism and Catholicism. Her collage-like book Dictée, which was published posthumously in 1982, is recognized as an influential investigation of identity in the context of history, ethnicity and gender.
In her highly theoretical yet poetic video works, Cha uses performance, speech and text to explore interactions of language, meaning and memory. Much of Cha’s work balances a rigorous analytical approach with an almost spiritual evocation of transformation and suffering. Themes of displacement and rupture are articulated in forms derived from French psychoanalytic cinema and linguistic theory of the 1970s; Cha studied in France with Christian Metz, Raymond Bellour and Thierry Kuntzel, among others. Drawing on sources and strategies as diverse as concrete poetry, Korean cultural traditions and conceptual art, Cha speaks with a distinctive voice.
Cha’s exploration of exile and dislocation in her art is informed by her own history. Uprooted during the Korean War, her family immigrated to America in 1962, moving first to Hawaii and then to San Francisco. After years in the Bay Area and time in Europe, Cha moved to New York City in 1980. As an editor and writer at Tanam Press, she produced two well-known works, Dictée (1982) and Apparatus, an important anthology of essays on the cinematic apparatus.” source: Electronic Arts Intermix