He succeeded, artist Mart Veldhuis named his tapestry Own fault sold. The buyers pay 45,879.40 euros for it, exactly the amount of Veldhuis’ student debt.
The artist made the gigantic carpet as a graduation project to interpret the voice of the loan generation. A generation to which he also belongs: the students who did not receive a scholarship in recent years and had to borrow money to pay for their studies. He put the carpet up for sale for the exact amount of his student debt.
Veldhuis still has to get used to the idea that he will soon no longer have a student debt due to this sale: “It does take a load off my shoulders. It is very unreal that I succeeded.” The tapestry is currently exhibited in the Dordrechts Museum.
To Veldhuis’ great surprise, no less than seven people were interested in the carpet. The Amsterdammer has sat down with three potential parties. In the end he chose Joke van Veen and Jaap Versteegh.
The couple from Maarssen are art dealers and have a foundation to support refugee artists. Because these artists are currently exhibiting in the Dordrechts Museum, they also saw the tapestry hanging there.
“This is a work that we like, it is innovative, graphically strong and the conceptual elaboration is good,” says Versteegh. The tapestry will not be sold, but will travel to various museums.
Not above the sofa
“In any case, we don’t have room to hang a 5-meter carpet above the sofa,” says Versteegh with a laugh. He therefore makes it clear that the work was not bought for private use: “The tapestry has a social theme, it asks to be exhibited in a public space.”
For Veldhuis, this was the deciding factor in working with these buyers. “I think it’s important that the work remains visible and that it continues to interpret the message.”
The buyers themselves had no student debt, but they can well imagine that this is a heavy burden for the current generation. That is why they think it is important that the work denounces the student loan system: “There is now almost an entire generation that has a student debt. The debt hangs like a millstone around their neck. How can they pay it off?”
The tapestry will hang in the Dordrechts Museum until June 25, after which it will go to De Balie in Amsterdam.