Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

1951 - 1982

Born in Busan (Korea, Democratic People's Republic of).

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha was a Korean American novelist and artist. She was born in Busan, Korea, during the Korean War. Her family eventually moved to the United States and settled in California. She received her BA and MA in Comparative Literature and an MFA from the University of California, Berkeley. She moved to New York in 1980 working as a writer and video/filmmaker. She was raped and strangled just inside the door of the Puck Building in SoHo by a security guard for the building, Joey Sanza, on November 5, 1982, just seven days after the publication of Dictée.

“Although she lived only 31 years, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha left a substantial and diverse body of work. The primary mediums in which she worked were: ceramic, performance, artist’s books, concrete poetry, film, video, sculpture, mail art, audio, and slide projections. In many cases her work combined aspects of different media, blurring the boundaries between conventionally distinct categories. It was characteristic of Cha to take the thematic and formal approaches developed in one medium and reinterpret them in another; elements of film and video, for example, find their way into artist’s books and vice versa.” - Lawrence Rinder (Director of University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive)

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