Monday, November 23, 2009

Silence, cunning, exilée

From the new Bookforum, a review of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Exilée and Temps Morts:
The intergenre artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha made her reputation with the experimental novel Dictée, published in 1982, a few days after she was murdered by a stranger in New York. A speculative history of Korea as it intersects with the life of Cha's mother, Dictée intercuts oneiric prose with family photographs and political documents. English, French, and Korean shape the book's voices.

Cha's small but multilayered archive also includes films, objects, and performances, and in 2001, Berkeley Art Museum curator Constance M. Lewallen organized a retrospective of Cha's art called "The Dream of the Audience," which traveled in the United States, Korea, and Europe. Exilée and Temps Morts: Selected Works, edited by Lewallen with an essay by novelist Ed Park, is a companion to the exhibition's catalogue. As Park explains, the texts "Exilée" and "Temps Morts" originally appeared in a 1980 anthology called Hotel, which included contributions from Laurie Anderson and Jenny Holzer. But copies were boxed before the ink was dry, the pages stuck together, and few people have ever seen the book.

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