Temporary installation in a living room | Kunst op de Koffie 2019
Cupboard found in the basement of the house, felt sound-isolating blankets and audio-recordings.
Left photo: Ido and Ina in 1945 in front of the house (family archive Ina Nathans) – Right photo: Ido and Ina in 2019 (Heidi Linck)
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Kunst op de Koffie is an art project in Arnhem which is inspired on Chambres d’amis (by Jan Hoet): artists are invited to create a site-specific work in a house they are assigned to.
I was assigned to an old, monumental house where its owners just moved in. When I asked them what they knew about the history of their house, they told me that the other day, a mother and her daughter came by, one of them stating she lived in this house during her childhood. The mother, Ina and her Jewish family had been hidden in Ede during the war for three years, which saved them from the nazi’s. Supposing that the house would have been abandoned for these three years, I invited Ina and her brother Ido for an interview and I asked them to show me around in the house as they remembered it from their youth.
Many impressive stories were told, memories were shared and songs they wrote during their hiding were sung again. They also told me that the house was not abandoned for a very long time: soon after they escaped to Ede, the house was confiscated and a German officer moved in. He built his own furniture in the house, transforming the rooms into dark-stained wooden spaces. After the war, the Jewish family came back and found that their own furniture was stolen. They decided to keep the wooden furniture.
When Ina and Ido showed me around in the basement, they immediately recognized a cupboard that used to be in the salon room. Photographic images from their family archive confirmed that this forgotten piece of furniture, that had been standing in the basement for decades, was indeed a remnant of the German occupation. I moved the cupboard back to its room and, as an embodiment of the German officer, I made it listen to the stories and songs I recorded during the interview with Ida and Ido.
Many thanks to: Tanya en Eric Looijen, Ina en Ido Nathans, Judith de Jong, Verhuisbedrijf Jacobs.
Kunst op de Koffie was supported by Mondriaan Fonds, Provincie Gelderland, Gemeente Arnhem and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.