The Dream of the Audience: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951- 1982)

September 12 through December 16, 2001

First retrospective exhibition of work by important and under-represented Korean American conceptual artist and UC Berkeley alumna.

The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is proud to present the first major multidisciplinary exhibition of conceptual artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha beginning September 12. After its presentation in Berkeley this exhibition will travel to five cities including Seoul, Korea.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Pacific Film Archive will present Theresa Cha's films and videos, plus a film series The Dream of the Audience: Theresa Cha and Film featuring films that influenced and inspired Cha, who worked as a student usher at the PFA while studying at UC Berkeley. Details of screening dates and times are below.

The Dream of the Audience: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951 – 1982) presents a full range of work by this influential yet under-represented Korean American artist who worked in media ranging from performance, film and video, to mail art and artist books. Cha's work is an ongoing exploration off themes drawn from her personal experiences as a geographic exile, and of cultural and linguistic displacement. Her work is complex, incorporating diverse cultural references in several languages including Korean, French, and English.

A native of Korea, Cha moved with her family to San Francisco in 1963 and received four degrees from Berkeley: BA (1973) in comparative literature; BA (1975), MA (1977), and MFA (1978) in Art Practice. During the last two years of her short life, she lived in New York where she created her final work, the now widely acclaimed book Dictée. A thoroughly original conception that represents a remarkable accomplishment for a young artist, Dictée combines family history, autobiography, stories of female martyrdom, poetry, and images. It touches on each of the major themes that occur in Cha's work: language, memory, displacement, and alienation. Originally published by Tanam Press and translated into Korean and Japanese, it has been newly reissued by University of California Press. Now over twenty years old, Dictée is still studied in university courses including Comparative Literature, Women's Studies, and Ethnic Studies.

The Dream of the Audience will include photographs, documentation, and tape recordings of several of the artist's haunting performance works such as A Ble Wail (1975); Reveillé dans la Brume (1977); Other Things Seen, Other Things Heard (1978); and Aveugle Voix (1975). The critic Robert Atkins, who saw her perform Other Things Seen, Other Things Heard attested to the hypnotic power of Cha's performances: "I left feeling suspended between consciousness and unconsciousness, as if I had been dreaming someone else's dream." In describing this work, Cha wrote, "In this piece, I want to be the dream of the audience."
Fascinated by classic cinema (much of which she saw at the Pacific Film Archive where she worked as a student usher), Cha made several films of her own. Film also influenced her other works, as in the flicker of the mirrored candle reflections in A Ble Wail. Filmic sequencing is also suggested in the patterns of images, words, and blank pages in her books, almost all of which are in black and white.

During the course of the exhibition, the Pacific Film Archive will present Exilée, Cha's most realized installation involving a video monitor mounted in the middle of a wall onto which a film is projected. The film is a time lapse image of a curtained window changing light over the course of a day.
In the video Cha speaks of her return to Korea as still images of clouds pass over the screen. The exhibition also includes a program of single channel video works, and the three-monitor video work Passages Paysages, Cha's contribution to the 1978 in the Master of Fine Arts exhibition at the BAM.

At the end of her life Cha was also working on an piece for a show at Artist's Space in New York that involved hands portrayed in paintings throughout art history, and also planning to turn White Dust From Mongolia, originally conceived as a film, into a book. On November 5, 1982, Theresa Hak Kyung
Cha was murdered by a security guard in the Puck Building on Lafayette Street in lower Manhattan. She had gone there to meet her husband, the photographer Richard Barnes, who was documenting the renovation of the building.

Cha's work has been featured in two previous solo-exhibitions: in 1990 as part of the BAM/PFA's MATRIX Program for Contemporary Art, and in 1993 in the Film and Video Department of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Following its debut in Berkeley, the exhibition The Dream of the Audience will travel to the University Art Gallery and Beall Center for Art and Technology at the University of California, Irvine (January 15 - March 3, 2002); Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York (April 4 – June 16, 2002); Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (August 30 – November 3, 2002); the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington, Seattle (December 6, 2002 – March 2, 2003); and SSamzie Space in Seoul, Korea (May 6 – June 29, 2003).
The Theresa Hak Kyung Cha Collection Guide can be viewed on the BAM/PFA website at

The Dream of the Audience: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951-1982), copublished by University of California Press, with essays by exhibition curator Constance Lewallen; Lawrence Rinder, curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art; and filmmaker and UC Berkeley professor Trinh T. Minh-ha, is available at the Museum Store. To order call (510) 642-1475. $40 hardcover.
Also available: Dictée by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. New edition, $15.95 paperback. Available in limited quantities: Dictée, first edition published in 1982 by Tanam Press, $25 paperback; Dictée, Korean language edition translated by Kay Kim Richard, $16.95 paperback.

Public programs
Gallery Talk
Thursday, September 13, 12:15 p.m.
Galleries 2 and 3
Senior Curator for Exhibitions Constance Lewallen will offer a walkthrough of the Theresa Cha exhibition. Exhibition curator and author of a major essay in the exhibition catalog titled "Theresa Cha: Her Time and Place", Lewallen will share her insights into the artist's multifaceted work and consider it in the context of Bay Area Conceptual art history.

"A Conceptual Conversation"
Wednesday, September 19, 12 noon
Galleries 1 and 5
Conceptual artist Ceal Floyer and UC Berkeley Professor of Art History Anne Wagner will offer a joint walkthrough of Floyer's exhibition Ceal Floyer/MATRIX 192 (September 16 - November 11) and The Dream of the Audience. The work of both artists is conceptual with a feminist edge. MATRIX curator Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson will facilitate this "mobile conversation" between artist and art historian.

Panel: "Theresa Hak Kyung Cha: Her Audience Today"
Sunday, September 30, 2-4:30 p.m.
Pacific Film Archive Theater
Preceded by guided tour of the exhibition in Gallery 2 at 1 p.m.
This interdisciplinary panel devoted to the art of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha will foreground how her work has become increasingly important and relevant to a broad range of disciplines-from ethnic studies, Asian-American studies, and women's studies to film, literature, and linguistics, in addition to art. The
program will start with a brief introduction to Cha's work by exhibition curator Constance Lewallen. The panel will feature the following speakers, who will talk from the standpoint of their fields and then participate in a discussion moderated by Lewallen:
Moira Roth, Trefethen Professor of Art History, Mills College
Yong Soon Min, visual artist and Associate Professor, School of the Arts, UC Irvine
George Lakoff, Professor of Linguistics, UC Berkeley
Kim Hong-hee, Professor of Art History, Hong-ik University, Seoul, and Director of Ssamzie
Trinh T. Minh-ha, filmmaker and Professor of Women's Studies, UC Berkeley
Note: The exhibition galleries will be open to the program audience for viewing until 6 p.m.

Gallery Talk
Sunday, November 11, 3 p.m.
Gallery 2
Anne Anlin Cheng, Associate Professor of English at UC Berkeley, will offer a tour of the Theresa Cha exhibition with a focus on the relationship between politics and performance in Cha's artbooks and videotapes. Cheng, the author of The Melancholy of Race: Psychoanalysis, Assimilation, and Hidden Grief, focuses in her work on the interconnections among literary analysis, race studies, psychoanalysis, and performance studies. She has written extensively on Theresa Cha.

Guided Tours
UC Berkeley students from the departments of art history and ethnic studies will offer guided tours of The Dream of the Audience on Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. unless another program is scheduled at that time (please call the 24-hour information line (510) 642-0808 for details).

Sign-language Interpreted Tour
Saturday, October 20, 1:30 p.m.
Gallery 2
A guided tour of the Theresa Cha exhibition will be presented with sign-language interpretation by popular Bay Area interpreter Patricia Lessard.

Film Program
Films and videos by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha will be presented at the Pacific Film Archive Theater (Bancroft @ Bowditch) and in the Museum Theater as follows:

Exilée, Cha's best-known work, will be screened in the PFA Theater on September 20 at 7 and 8:30 p.m., and in the Museum Theater on October 11 at 7 p.m., November 8 at 7 p.m., and December 9 at 3 p.m.

A selection of Cha's films and videos, including sketches and fragments, will be presented at the PFA Theater on October 23 at 7:30 p.m.

Permutations screens at PFA on October 12 at 7 p.m.

In conjunction with the exhibition, PFA also presents The Dream of the Audience: Theresa Cha and the Cinema, a series of films that influenced and inspired Cha, featuring films by Alain Resnais, Marguerite Duras, Carl Dreyer, Jean-Luc Godard, Andrei Tarkovsky, Michael Snow, Dziga Vertov, Maya Deren, and others. Check the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive website for details at for details.

Posted by admin on September 12, 2001