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Exilée and Temps Morts

Selected Works

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (Author), Constance M. Lewallen (Editor), Constance M. Lewallen (Introduction), Ed Park (Contributor)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 288 pages
ISBN: 9780520259096
September 2009
$34.95, £24.95
In her radical exploration of cultural and personal identity, the writer and artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha sought “the roots of language before it is born on the tip of the tongue.” Her first book, the highly original postmodern text Dictee, published in 1982, is considered a classic work of autobiography and is widely read by students internationally. This stunning selection of her uncollected and hitherto unpublished work at last brings together Cha's writings and text-based pieces with images spanning the period between 1976 and 1980. The volume includes two related poem sequences, Exilée and Temps Morts, major texts incorporating autobiographical elements as well as themes of language, memory, displacement, and alienation--issues that continue to resonate with artists decades after Cha explored them. These moving works give a fuller view of the creative nexus out of which Dictee emerged and attest to the singular literary achievement of a major figure in late-twentieth century art.

Copub: Berkeley Art Museum

Audience Distant Relative:
An Introduction to the Writings of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha by Constance M. Lewallen
“This is the writing you have been waiting for”: On Reading the Last of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha by Ed Park

1 audience distant relative
Temps Morts

2 the sand grain story
Surplus Novel

3 monologue
i have time
time between
lament i lament your youth
18, avril
the sound is a dripping faucet
i have taken a bite of this root
fly by night
view from the willow tree paris
For my brother
long interval of silences
The Missing Page
The writing conscious-unconsciously

4 White Dust from Mongolia
Introduction by Constance M. Lewallen
White Dust from Mongolia: Project Description
Poems and journal entries related to White Dust
from Mongolia

5 Faire-Part
it is almost that

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha was born in 1951 in Pusan, Korea, and moved with her family to San Francisco at the age of 11. She received bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, and did postgraduate work in Paris. In 1982, a stranger murdered Cha in New York City, just a few days after the original publication of Dictee (reprinted by UC Press).

Constance M. Lewallen is Adjunct Curator at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Among her books are A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s and The Dream of an Audience: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951-1982), both from UC Press.
“Cha is a thoroughly detail-oriented literary and visual artist. Her methodical work doesn't entertain or dazzle. It is open-ended in a way that requires its audience to supply part of the vision.”—Jana Hsu San Francisco Bay Guardian
“Beautiful”—The Atlantic .Com
“The volume brings to light part of Cha’s achievement . . . Tantalizing.”—Bookforum
“Those interested in this work may be limited to fans of experimental and avant-garde literature and art.”—Library Journal
"Mastery over language that was borrowed, that was not her mother tongue, enabled Theresa Hak Kyung Cha to empathize with her viewer (her distant audience) as powerfully as any artist I know. In Exilée and Temps Morts I listen with fascination as her tongue exercises furtively and nimbly, convincing me that Cha would have been the exemplary artist of identity had she lived another ten years."—Byron Kim

"Conceptual, poetic, visual, the writings of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha are radical and subtle responses to the artistic context of their time and reveal powerful areas of exploration to readers. Like few other contemporary collections, this book opens up new horizons in literature, art history, film theory, and linguistics, emphasizing the originality of a unique body of work that belongs both to history and to the present."—Elvan Zabunyan, author of Black Is a Color

"Since its publication within weeks of her premature death, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Dictée has attracted academic, feminist, literary, and cult followings. But despite the passion that erupts through its surface, it is in many ways an austere book. It withholds something—and purposefully so. This unexpected new collection of Cha's other, previously uncollected writings/inscribings offers something gentler, more intimate—and, though not less alienated, perhaps, the Cha we encounter in Exilée and Temps Morts is more playful. The works collected here resonate with vivacity and the luminous presence that was, and remains, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. "—Lyn Hejinian, author of A Border Comedy

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