De Thuiskomst

Temporary installation in a house | Kunst op de Koffie 2019 
Bookcase found in the basement, blankets and soundtrack (09min30sec)

Kunst op de Koffie is an art-event in which artists are invited to create site-specific work inside of a house in Arnhem. This installation reflects on the history of the house that was assigned to me.

From my wish to have my project informed by the history of the house, I got in touch with a Jewish brother and sister, who lived here as children. In 1942 Ina and Ido, then 12 and 10 years old, and their parents, had to leave the house to escape from the Nazis and hide in a secret place outside of Arnhem for three years long.

During our meeting in the summer of 2019, they shared their stories about their childhood in the house before the war and about the three years that they were in hiding as teenagers. They also sang songs that they wrote and sang during their hiding. They all survived the war, and when they got back, they found their house empty, except for traces of a German who lived inside this house while the family was hiding.¬†This German changed the salon room into a dark interior, by decorating the room all around with “fake oak”: pine with dark brown stain.

At the end of the tour we discovered a bookcase in the basement of the house, which they immediately recognized as a bookcase made by the German bunker builder. Until this art project, this object was sleeping in the basement as an unknown carrier of this untold story.

I installed this bookcase back in the salon room, where I had hidden the current furniture under felt blankets, and made it absorb the hiding stories and songs by Ina (now 90) and Ido (now 87) during the event of Kunst op de Koffie.

Thanks to: Tanja and Eric Looijen, Ina and Ido Nathans, Judith de Jong, an unknown German bunker builder and Verhuisbedrijf Jacobs.

Kunst op de Koffie was supported by the Mondriaan Fund, Provincie Gelderland, Gemeente Arnhem and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.