Thirty years in 2015 correspond exactly to fifteen years of the second millennium and another fifteen of the third. The differences between millennia are larger and more evident than other turning points, like that of the centuries, and the transition period is slower, with envisaged doubts and uncertainties.
Facing the uncertainties of the worlds we’re left only with the preservation of knowledge. This process of passage from one cycle to another sets a backdrop that highlights the overall scope for the collection and the collector; the gradual conscientious-ness of this process has set the plot to celebrate the thirty years of existence of the Casa das Artes de Tavira. The act of collecting corresponds to the safeguarding of knowledge with the purpose of the survival as much in the present as in the future. It becomes the substance that saved Prospero (William Shakespeare) on the island where he is banished, it is the unjustifiable desire to possess that justifies the life of the Cavaliere (The Volcano Lover, Susan Sontag), it is the daily livelihood clutter shown at the Helly Nahmad Gallery (Frieze Master, November 2014), it is the hypothesis of making a world from reflections, from introspections, from debates.
In the space of the Casa das Artes is revealed a work room, a living room for receiving friends, a reconstruction of a room belonging to a collector of Dutch origin, presently living in Tavira. A space enabling started yet always-unending conversations, a space of intimacies, alone or in-group, a space for writing, for audition and for contemplation. A space favouring the start of always unended conversations, a space of intimacies, alone or in-group, a space for writing, for audition and for contemplation.
Beyond the books, photographs of memories, flyers, posters and travel postcards, and a very occasional furniture, this space with an art collection unravels itself, composed by painting, drawing, prints, sculpture, photographs and video, mirroring a great fluency and closeness with art and Portuguese artists, passionately constituted over the last thirty years. The works have gradually been installed through every corner of the room, at times profusely, proposing the sentiment of spirit that sees in art a fundamental object for discovery of other worlds. This collection obviously constitutes her reason for being a person and her primordial contribution for the expansion of the sense of humanity.
The ambiguity and the doubt concerning the veracity of what lays exhibited generates restlessness in the observer, pointing at their own condition as collector, of whatever subject.
Collecting differs from collecting our own contemporary art. This latter mode requires an audacity equaling that of the artists because, through the always uncertain selection based on a specific set of assumptions, collectors dare define art. That is how Ruth constituted an extensive collection that beyond acuity, study, and research, reveals a cultural complicity with the place she has chosen or elected to live and reside and with all those that during these thirty years have passed close to her.
Who is the collector?
• Ruth was born in Volendam, in the Netherlands, in 1953.
• She completed with distinction the Higher Level Piano Course at the Amsterdam Conservatory in 1974.
• She married a visual artist, a political exile, from Tavira, where they came to live in 1975 and from whom she divorced in 1984.
• Since 1980 she teaches music at the Faro Conservatory, simultaneously developing an international musical career on various concertos.
• Ruth is an assiduous presence at Casa das Artes since 1985 actively participating in its activities, as an artist, as a teacher, as a visitor and as a collector.
• Throughout these thirty years Ruth has gathered an interesting collection of photography, drawing, painting, prints and sculpture with which she lives in a house in the Algarve coastal hills. It is a part of that house, her living and reception room, and part of that collection that here and now are reconstructed and exhibited.
Her house is a place of meeting many friends, especially on warm summer evenings, after dinner and an intense day of heat and beach. During the eighties many artists passed through her house, looking for sustainable cultural alternatives from their world visions. The fascination in discovering a country wanting in cultural and artistic dynamics and the possibility of being able to participate towards its cultural growth were the main causes that stimulated her approximation to Tavira.
But today Ruth is not at home. She left her home with friends and guests and left somewhere in a hurry... A neckerchief on the chair, a forgotten musical score, an open book and a nearby pencil…
Where has she gone?
The room is at times full, at others apparently empty, filled with art. Looks like they are dinning, but the room awaits them …
It is night…very late. Summer night in Tavira, the most pleasant place in the world. Where day and night are the same. That is what has been keeping her and she knows that is precisely why her presence is indifferent. She is always present even when she is absent.
Throughout her life, connected to musical and cultural activities, she was close to the visual arts, acquiring works, without the elementary intuition of commercializing them, but above all with the desire to enjoy them aesthetically, to be accomplice and to be in the discoveries of others, finding glorious solutions for every day’s triviality.
Aware that things of art and aesthetics serve to activate consciences, Ruth’s room recreated in CAT, populated with works by artists she knew and that she convivially related to. Ana Hatherly, Bartolomeu Cid do Santos, Catarina Botelho, Costa Pinheiro, Fernanda Fragateiro, Isabel Sabino, Ivo, João Hogan, João Onofre, Jorge Martins, Jorge Pinheiro, Jorge Vieira, José Faria, Julião Sarmento, Júlio Pomar, Manuel Batista, Manuel João Vieira, Margarida Palma, João Vieira, Miguel Proença, Nuno Calvet, Paula Rego, Pedro Cabrita Reis, Pedro Calapez, Pedro Proença, René Bertholo, Samuel Rama, Susana Themlitz, Vespeira and Xana, represent the refuge, the house nucleus, her habitat, where everyday life and life itself reconnect.