Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Painting and Printmaking

First Advisor

Noah Simblist

Second Advisor

Hilary Wilder

Third Advisor

Cara Benedetto


...And Yet the Devil Exists is a project that explores the ways in which ideology determines reality. It is an installation that plots and connects the historical and personal narratives that have defined my sense of identity–narratives in which perceptions of reality shatter, mutate, or hybridize when confronted with power, opportunity, or coercion. The installation component of the project consists of three parts. The first is an infrastructure made of wooden beams upon which paintings and images are installed; I call this the lantern. In the center of this is a round table on top of which is a nonsensical board game, called the map. Installed on the walls of the exhibition space are double-sided picture frames, called portals. All together these components form a spatial timeline, a composite of imaginaries, excerpts, declarations, and remembrances associated with the reciprocating effects of evangelism, colonialism, and capitalism. The selected imagery confronts viewers with pervasive contradictions that result when tools of persuasion barter in false promises but also act as genuine containers of faith. The language of mapping is used to express a desire for cohesion. “We make maps of the world in order to change it.” But the conflation of imagery from a wide range of sources, disciplines, ideologies, and histories, makes a cohesive mapping of the installation itself impossible. What is left is an opportunity to consider each image, narrative, or statement individually and speculate, even fabricate, the connections between them. The project itself is a quest for interiority amidst a pervasive lack. By delving into these portals of human experience, I create an inheritance, a totality, a map, with all the fears, aspirations, reasonings, and prayers that come with it. It just so happens that this map itself a labyrinth, for it is inherently fragmented and is meant for getting lost in.


© John Hee Taek Chae

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission