You may have read the article in Het Parool of July 31, in which Edo Dijksterhuis announces the four exhibitions that Harry Ruhé (1947) presents at Hemonylaan 6A in Amsterdam this month, which are all free to visit. Dijksterhuis: "Harry Ruhé lives and breathes avant-garde art. In four exhibitions the collector and gallery owner showcases half a century of artist letters, vintage photography and invitations." Ruhé comes from a family of ten children who were struggling to make ends meet. However, that did not stop him from collecting art at a young age: "Everything I saved I put into art. I was interested in the tangible aspects of art, I wanted to surround myself with art. I had a fairly broad interest from the start and looked around everywhere. You are looking for what suits you.”
In Ruhé’s case that turned out to be mail art, minimal art, concrete poetry, no art, body art and performance art plus everything that had to do with Fluxus. As a young collector in the 1960s, he happily corresponded with artists in order to get in touch with them and get through to their art. Ruhé: "If you wanted an artist's book or print, you had to approach the artist yourself. There were no distribution channels yet. Besides, everyone still had time to write letters. Nowadays, you’ll receive an email from a gallerist or his/her assistant, if you get an answer at all. On the other hand, there is much more information available today and thanks to the internet people know more. You used to have to put in more effort. "No country was too far for him and no journey too much of an effort in his quest for art, which, in his own words, made him excited and for which, if necessary, he suffered deprivation: 'I once slept in a park in Berlin to save 30 Deutsche Mark to buy an LP’.
In line with the mood of the aforementioned exhibitions, I have selected ten artists for my collection that I follow with just as much enthusiasm as the artists whose work I have been collecting since the 60’s.