A fantastic, easy-to-recognise Ricardo van Eyk

  • 03 november 2022

For someone in his twenties, Ricardo van Eyk (1993) already has quite an impressive track record. And this December, he can add a duo exhibition in Centraal Museum. HKU has also pulled in him, as artist in residence for Fine Art at AIR Pastoe. Starting late November, he will be residing for six months in Pastoe fabriek. ‘It will get interesting for me, but the students must be even more interested.’

A fantastic, easy-to-recognise Ricardo van Eyk

Deceivingly calm

Ricardo van Eyk seems all calm, smoking a cigarette on an old leather couch in his atelier at the Nijverheidsweg in Utrecht. Yet looks can be deceiving. In two weeks, he will open his survey exhibition in Hengelo (Wolvecampprijs – Dutch website) and on 2 December he must have his exposition in Centraal Museum Amsterdam all finished (together with colleague and HKU alumna Janine van Oene). ‘It really is a hectic time. For Hengelo, I can gather a best of-selection from my existing work, but the one for Centraal Museum still needs lots of work. I recently started working more dimensionally, and for Centraal Museum I’m creating something that is based on the renovation of shopping centre Hoog Catharijne. Ever seen those panels in front of shops that are closed for renovation, with those typical digital sketches of what they are going to look like afterwards? The intended attractiveness of such an image is meant to hide the reconstruction process from people passing by… Which precisely stimulates the human curiosity about what is happening behind the scenes. And in my case, it has also inspired me for new, more dimensional work.’

In the period when Van Eyk will be present at HKU in Pastoe Fabriek, his encounters with students will be the main priority. His exhibition in Centraal Museum can foster such encounters and therefore also serves as potential excursion material. ‘These meetings can take various forms: spontaneous conversations, admiring and discussing the works of students at Pastoe, collective visits to exhibitions, attending a class by a guest lecturer I invited… I think that the first few weeks will require lots of improvising, due to all the busy times. But later on, I will be at my dedicated spot at Fine Art for three fixed days per week.’

From the series 'CANAL' (2020). Photo credit: Kristel Geerts


‘During the few guest lectureships I did, I was always surprised by the ways in which students attempt to translate their fascinations into their arts and search for their own personal approach. I can learn from that as well, of course. Vice versa, I hope that students can learn something from me. And that I’m accessible to them: since I’m not a teacher, there is no hierarchy. Hopefully, this leads to a more informal interaction. The good thing, I guess, is that I haven’t graduated that long ago myself, yet I have already become quite professionally active. At the same time, I am still searching and developing myself visually, which students can probably recognise. I am not an established artist who has already been regularly churning out an amazing and distinguishable Ricardo van Eyk for five years.’

‘The type of students I hope to encounter? Students who desire to explore and discover. I noticed for myself that I was on to something in the third year, when I started making photos of public spaces and saw the pieces come together. That felt amazing, so I hope that students will experience something similar and also end up in such a trance-like state. That doesn’t even have to be at HKU or during my residency. I simply hope that students are caught by that same inspired mindset, and in the least, they will have me to talk about it.


‘The definition of a good artist is, according to van Eyk, someone who works with an obsession. In his case, the fascination was about public spaces, which has now been practically stored in his DNA. ‘I still get lots of inspiration from sightings I have in the outdoor spaces, although I no longer need to record them. At some point, you just develop that gaze. I no longer need my image database for that. The images have locked themselves inside me and also come to me when I’m working indoors in my atelier.’

AIR Pastoe is realised with the support of the Keep an Eye Foundation: an organisation for supporting young and promising creative talents in various disciplines. Read more about the partnership between HKU and Keep an Eye.