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The Table That Doesn't Belong To Us, 2022

In collaboration with Katharina Mayrhofer.

The starting point for Katharina Mayrhofer’s PhD research is a black table that came into the possession of her family in the course of the “wild Aryanizations” between 1938-1945. Oral tradition and fact-based evidence show that it originally came from Ranshofen and belonged to the former landowners, the Wertheimer family. In the search for answers to the questions of who stole the table and how it ended up hidden in the attic of an inn for many decades, Mayrhofer came across a previously unknown, dark chapter of family history. Since then she has been asking herself: How do you deal with Nazi looted property in family ownership? 

In the spring of 2022, Mayrhofer and Davy (a direct descendent of the Wertheimer family) brought the table to the latter's family's former home in Oberösterreich and turned their attention to damage left by the previous 8 decades. Inspired by the Japanese ceramic method of Kintsugi, they gilded the cracks that marred the table and embroidered with gold thread two skirts made from tablecloths also suspected to have been looted at the time of the Aryanizations.

During the process, Mayrhofer and Davy discussed at length how we begin to piece together traumatic and fragmented pasts, on the legacies of Nazism and the state of education and national denial that are still present around the NSDAP in Austria, and in what ways we can use art to illuminate what has been hidden and begin to heal from it.

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