This past Thursday I had the pleasure of attending an evening honoring the artwork of UC Berkeley alum Theresa Hak Kyung Cha at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive. Cha’s conceptual artwork juxtaposes together multiple forms of media and incorporates written and spoken words in French, Korean, and English. One piece that caught my attention consisted of strips of paper with the French words for water, fire, earth, air, and ether attached to a piece of string and hung in a little glass jar.
Photo from Art net
In one of her performance pieces Cha is holding a white ribbon stamped with the words “aveugle voix”, meaning “blind voice.” Showing how fashion is important even in the art world, the white of her long-sleeved shirt, drawstring pants, and scarf wrapped around her neck were carefully chosen to represent the costume of the Korean shamans. In an interesting twist, Cha wraps the ribbon around her face so that the word meaning “voice” covers her eyes and the word meaning “blind” covers her mouth. This unexpected placement is just one example of how Cha loved to play with words and language, in this case, making a statement on the contrast between seeing and speaking.
Photo from Mediateletipos
Another one of her pieces of art that I really liked seemed to take poetry and place it onto a canvas. In this large installation Cha played with the concepts of patterns, mirroring, and repetition.
Photo from elsilencio
It’s always nice to see a Berkeley alum honored for their achievements, and it can inspire us all to unleash our own inner creative genius