From 14.06.2024 to 31.07.2024

the in-between time: from when a sound
is made
to when it returns as an echo
no one knows if it was heard,
when it was heard
when it would be heard
if ever at all
but it continues on and on and onmaybe thousand years

someone’s memory

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Echo, 1977

The Contemporary Greek Art Institute (ISET) inaugurates on Friday June 14 the group exhibition, “The Poem Returns as an Echo: Dialogues with Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951-1982)”.

The exhibition introduces a part of the multifaceted, experimental and significant work of the groundbreaking Korean-American visual artist and poet, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951-1982), in dialogue with Greek artists for the first time in Greece. Embarking from the use of ancient Greek scholarship in the configuration of a feminist and decolonial poetics in her emblematic novel Dictée (1982), the exhibition explores how Cha’s work can converse with works by younger artists as well as archives from the ISET’s archival collection, tracing its resonance in the localized past and present.

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha was born in South Korea in 1951, and emigrated several times with her family during both the years of occupation and the Korean war before moving to the United States in 1963. She studied comparative literature and art at the University of California, Berkeley, and cinema in Paris. In 1980 she moved to New York, where two years later she was raped and murdered at the age of 31. Engaging elements of metaphor, abstraction, fragmentation and repetition, Cha worked extensively on language and its relation to memory, political trauma and the experience of exile. Within a decade she had composed a rich artistic legacy consisting of film, text-based works, artist’s books, performance and sound art. A legacy distinguished by its poetic thickness and the exploration of silence, absence and exophony as tools for the reappropriation of the past and expressional spaces for hybrid identity.

The exhibition presents videos, slides, photographs and texts dating from 1975 to 1982 which highlight the thematic and stylistic plurality of the artist’s work. Through issues such as the appropriation of ancient Greek mythology from a feminist and hybrid scope, the self-determination in the representations of loss and diaspora, the expression of political vision through experimentation, and the contestation of the conventional way of representing personal and collective memory, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s work and life become the vessel for foregrounding interrelated narratives which in today’s sociopolitical context of national identities, the rise of multiple forms of violence, the ongoing wars and borders open up new transdisciplinary and transcultural approaches to the relation between artistic praxis and lived experience. The exhibition, together with its public program, attempts to conjoin a set of local and transnational voices with Cha’s work, underlining its relevance to the contemporary art in Greece, and thereby expanding in this way the notions of locality and historicity around narrative, memory, loss, resistance and trauma.

Concept – Curation: Caterina Stamou

Participants in the Exhibition: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Maria Christoforidou, Bia Davou (ISET archive), Dimitra Ioannou, Konstanza Kapsali, Klonaris – Thomadaki (ISET archive), Karolina Krasouli, Athina Koumparouli, Sujin Lee, Leda Papaconstantinou (ISET archive), Aspa Stasinopoulou (ISET archive), Word Mord {Komminuτέρας tentacle}, Myrto Xanthopoulou

Participants in the Public Program: Stamatina Dimakopoulou, Elena Hamalidi, Dimitra Ioannou, Naya Magaliou, Hypatia Vourloumis, Myrto Xanthopoulou

Project Coordinator: Natasha Tsaropoulou

Translation Editing: Sarah Nasar

Courtesy of University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and Electronic Arts Intermix.

With the support of the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum.

Opening: June 14 at 19:00

Duration: June 14 – July 31, 2024
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 – 17:00
Contemporary Greek Art Institute
annex of the National Gallery
Valaoritou 9a, Athens 10671
[email protected]