Eef Veldkamp is a young Dutch artist(-ic researcher) (1993). In his work he researches the systems and structures that dictate life: “We share just one world with about 7.000.000.000 people, but I think we don’t really know how to do that...” According to Veldkamp this causes a lot of our present-day problems, but that does not strike him as odd: “we do live on one world, but not ín one world.” Besides, he argues, we have only been “living-together [Dutch for society]” for merely 12.000 years. In contrast to more than 2.000.000 years we have been living as hunter-gatherers, “we humans as societal beings are still taking our first baby-steps”. Therefore, Veldkamp searches for handles which offer support to get a grip on the elusive complexity and absurdity of our ‘living-together’. Hence, he researches the systems and structures that intervene on our world and that dictate our world, us and all relations we have; from socio-political institutions to the logistics of information and executive power and methods to political engagement. He uses his findings as the allegorical material for what he calls ‘counter-systems’ – systems that are designed to designate other systems in a subversive way. His intended goal: “strong consequences […] with all certainty I try to prevent becoming an ivory tower-artist that makes petrified reflections of those problems”. Eef makes transgressive practices. With these counter-systems – which take the shapes of companies, initiatives or events – the artist is trying to enhance engagement with the constitution of our lives which we have been alienated from by millennia of institutionalised power. Correspondingly, he tries to create practices that help to reclaim a certain 'agency' over our highly artificial lives, which he argues is very possible: “everything that is made can be changed. Society and we in it has been made – let’s now remake it”.
Veldkamp's work has a strong research-based basis. In his academic research he tries to exceed the boundaries of the text, and in his visual research he tries to transgress the limits of form. The projects that result from this research – using subversive and humoristic rhetoric – are designed and organised in an holistic way; meaning that they don't result in singular products but in programmes. "Humour is a way to cope with that which is still beyond the thin line of cognition – just out of grasp of the understandable and thus the 'normal'. It extrapolates the status quo into the deviant. The subversive practices I hope to design help to pull towards the unknown just about that line, stimulating momentum towards the world of tomorrow."
Marjolein Linders. Official Portrait of Eef Veldkamp. 2015. Acrylic on canvas.