Xavier cha’s performance-based work revolves around modes of accessibility, exchange, and hierarchies of space and perception. Collaboration is often at play in her performances: Xavier has invited actors, dancers, musicians, conductors, martial artists, and clowns, among many other non-artist performers, to not only participate in her projects, but also to become protagonists in the work. Through these events, ha formalizes subjectivity within contemporary culture, isolating elements of production, perception and communication into bare, abstract and often illogical experience. In stripping away extraneous content, Xavier reveals phantasmic qualities of consumption, trends, and cultural engagement. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New Museum, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, the Kitchen, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (UK), the Sculpture Center, Asia Society Museum, and the Hammer Museum. She was the recipient of the 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship.
Performance-based works and videos grapple with architectures of subjectivity, illusions of agency, what it means to be human with a physical body in a capitalistic-digital age where we exist as consumer and product. Collaboration is central to the work. Specialized participants, generally performers in fields outside of the contemporary art world, play prominent roles in extracting the sublimated and magnifying an estranged or alienated human experience within inescapable systems of exchange, consumption, and communication. Cha directs actors, dancers, or other professionals through focused, controlled scenarios, where the challenged expression of their expertise- often pushing performers to extremes- reveals the body as an enigmatic conduit, a malleable corporeal/ psycho/ social system. Attuned to ways in which the body is watched, and conveyed, immersed within heightened circuits of surveillance, marketing, voyeurism and self-spectatorship, Cha examines how mediating frames- screens, sets, and the omnipotent lens of the camera- shape behaviors and refine gesture.