January 31- April 22 ,the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) exhibit, “Theresa Hak Kyung Cha: Avant Dictée” celebrates the prolific, short-lived career of the influential Asian American artist and writer Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. Centered around Cha’s magnum opus, Dictée, the exhibit will include extra-textual art and writing from Cha’s body of work which corresponds thematically to the ten chapters of Dictée.
Born in South Korea, Cha grew up in San Francisco and attended UC Berkeley as an undergraduate. She was an alum of both the Comparative Literature and Art departments as well as a longtime employee at the Pacific Film Archive. She earned her MFA in 1978, studying both on the UC Berkeley campus and through UC Education Abroad Program in Paris. During both her academic career and her work at the Pacific Film Archive, she encountered many of the artists and authors who would go on to inspire her avant-garde artistic expression.
While Cha tragically passed away only a week after Dictée was published in 1982 at the age of 31, she left behind her a multitude of experimental artwork, films, poetry, and prose. BAMPFA holds much of her work in its archival collections, which you can explore here. Want some time to read Cha’s works in preparation for the exhibit? Don’t worry—it’s open until April 22nd, giving you plenty of time to check out her books at the UC Berkeley Library before you head to the museum. Here’s a few to get you started: