Eva Koch’s mother was born in 1930 in the city of Villar del Cobo in Span. Due to the ravages of the Spanish Civil War, the family had to place her in an orphanage, but at seven years of age she was adopted by a Norwegian doctor and grew up in Norway. In the early 1960s, during a trip to the Faroe Islands, she accidentally met a Spanish couple who offered to help her track down her Spanish birth family. In 1962, as a result of this effort, she was able to travel to Villar del Cobo accompanied by her Danish husband and then nine-year-old Eva to be reunited with her family.

Personal story  

The video installation VILLAR (2002) draws on this dramatic story about the artist’s mother. In six monumental projections we meet different members of the mother’s family. They tell the story of the adoption, the separation and the reunion, each from their own perspective. There are also scenes from the city and the surrounding landscape as well as sequences of a more private nature offering a peek into the lives of the villagers having Sunday dinner, butchering, cooking or watching bull fighting on TV. Through sensors, the audience can activate the individual video projections and thus pick what to watch and in what order. The other part of the project, the video documentary Villar – Manueala’s Children (2002/2007), is similarly interactive, letting viewers click to access additional information and explore the many different layers of this stunning story.

A moving glimpse into the horrors of war

The two installations offer insight into the far-reaching consequences of war, with all the inevitable pain and sorrow. As viewers explore the material by clicking, actively choosing what to see, the format challenges them to connect the dots for themselves and relate to the various facts and voices they encounter. With these cinematic and narrative devices, Koch underscores the multi-faceted nature of truth.

The installation was recently upgraded and technically enhanced in connection with a showing at the Nivaagaard Collection.

About Eva Koch

Eva Koch (b. 1953) is known for her sensuous and conceptual artistic video practice. The VILLAR project is testimony to Koch’s remarkable ability to create works that explore the conventional distinction between public and private, intimate and anonymous, personal experience and collective experience. She trained as a sculptor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1985–1990 and also studied at the University of Barcelona’s Faculty of Fine Art. She has exhibited widely, including at the Nivaagaard Collection (Nivå, Denmark), SCA Gallery (Sydney), the New Carlsberg Glyptotek, Nikolaj Kunsthal, SMK – National Gallery of Denmark and Cisternerne (all Copenhagen). She has also created several site-specific works of art.