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Eva Armisen's newest retrospective continues to celebrate 'trivia' of everyday life

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Eva Armisen's
Eva Armisen's "Amor (Love)" (2021) / Courtesy of the artist, Dcommunication

By Park Han-sol

Spanish artist Eva Armisen has made another triumphant return to Korea, the country that has described her as an "artist who paints happiness," for a brand-new retrospective. Her works, as always, show that it is not dramatic spectacle, but rather the emotional "trivia" of everyday life that give people a renewed sense of hope and healing.

"Eva Armisen, Andando" at the War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan District, Seoul, brings together more than 200 of the creator's latest paintings, ceramics, installations, drawings and animations ― making this her largest retrospective to date, crowded with pieces that are being unveiled to the world for the first time.

"Andando," meaning "going" in Spanish, visualizes Armisen's decades-long creative journey of cherished memories and emotions as she revels in themes of love, family, nature, togetherness and inspiration.

Spanish painter Eva Armisen poses in front of
Spanish painter Eva Armisen poses in front of "Florecer (In Bloom)" (2022) at her newest retrospective "Andando" at the War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan District, Seoul / Korea Times photo by Park Han-sol

"The show focuses on recording some of the most significant and meaningful milestones in my life, ones that speak directly to my heart ― like I would in a diary," she said during the press preview of the exhibition, Thursday.

Viewers are invited to take a walk in a dreamlike landscape of the artist's imagination as she captures scenes of everyday life through her signature bulbous, cartoon-like figures with smiles ready to comfort any who come closer.

Armisen's portrait series of people in Spain amid months of lockdown in 2020 / Courtesy of Dcommunication
Armisen's portrait series of people in Spain amid months of lockdown in 2020 / Courtesy of Dcommunication

One of the most notable sections of the show includes "Portraits of Confinement" that portrays moments of abnormality that have become the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic through portraits of people in Spain amid months of lockdown.

The series began with the artist's idea to visually record the stories of those around her based on their photographs.

"I realized at this moment that art can be a means to connect with those whom I could not see in person," she said. "As the lockdown, which was initially believed to last just a week, continued for three months, my series grew as well and ended up consisting of 130 pieces."

"Andando" also marks the first time for the Barcelona-based creator to bring her ceramic works to Korea to express the idea of tenderness and fragility that makes up life and our efforts to carry on with it.

The ceramic heads, created specifically for this exhibition, were born from the collaboration between Armisen and a famed potter based in Spain.

"Ceramic works are intriguing products for me. They seem to have a life of their own since I cannot control everything during their production process ― unlike my paintings," she noted.

Armisen's "Juntos (Together)" (2022) / Korea Times photo by Park Han-sol

Toward the end of the show, what grabs the attention of Korean visitors is "Juntos (Together)" ― a painting of her family visiting the iconic Bukchon Hanok Village in central Seoul that expands into the gallery wall as a mural. It's the artist's way of conveying her feeling of fascination with Korea.

"The reason why the painting continues beyond the rectangular frame of the canvas is because I wanted to visualize my feelings toward Korea that keep growing as time passes," she said. "This is a country that has become an unexpected yet joyous discovery in my life."

"Andando" runs through Dec. 4 at the War Memorial of Korea.

Installation view of
Installation view of "Eva Armisen, Andando" / Courtesy of Dcommunication

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