William de Ridder

William de Ridder (1939 – present)

Willem de Ridder is a Dutch artist and a founding member of Fluxus. De Ridder worked across radio, film, television.

“We’ve been fooled into believing that people can think about you. The biggest fear in the West is to speak out in the open. We’re terrified to be judged, condemned, laughed at or thrown out. It’s the biggest lie ever. Nobody can see you. All they see is their own image, which is formed by their ideas, beliefs, convictions, etc. That’s why I created magazines with a soundtrack, so every image changed in front of your eyes because of the story you heard. I even made a different soundtrack for Dynasty, the famous soap on national television. So the whole story changed with the same images. Everybody sees something different anyway. You cannot look in their heads to see what they see. There is no so-called objective reality. So if they can’t see you, how can they think about you? Forget it. It’s not important what they think, but what you think, because that’s what you’re ‘seeing.’ If you suffer, because I’m such an idiot, you feel terrible and blame me. You give your power away and make yourself a victim. Victims don’t exist, only volunteers. Yes, you’re a great artist.”

– William de Ridder

“I was only interested in going into unknown territories, the insecure field of life. Most people are terrified of it. When I brought audiences into that state during my performances, there was panic, but there was always an idiot who said: “It’s ART!” The audience was immediately relieved. Oh… it’s art. Thank God. We were getting scared. The word “art” destroys all life. That’s why I step out of it. Museums are a sort of mausoleum.”

– William de Ridder

“The list of fluxprojects that I did is endless and it became very clear to me that the young generation is very interested in the way Fluxus liberated us from all those officials who not only decided how we had to live, but what was art and what wasn’t.”

– William de Ridder

De Ridder first came into contact with Fluxus when he interviewed Nam June Paik after which Maciunas asked him to become a member.

“I couldn’t be stopped and started with Wim T. Schippers AFSRINMOR (Association For Scientific Research In New Methods Of Recreation) and the SPO (Society for Party Organizing) which set up parties as pure improvised theater with no difference between actors and audience. The SEO (Society for Exhibition Organizing) “improved” artworks, museums and exhibitions. Then, I heard about Nam June Paik and was immediately inspired. I made a deal with the Haagse Post, a weekly magazine, to do an interview with him and went to Germany where he had an exhibition. We talked for hours. When I told my history he looked at me and said: “You are Fluxus!” He did not explain it, just wanted my phone number. Two weeks later George Maciunas phoned me with the words: “You are Fluxus,” and invited me to take part in the very first Flux event in an Amsterdam gallery. There I met Dick Higgins, Alison Knowles, Wolf Vostell, George Maciunas, Benjamin Patterson, Tomas Schmit, Nam June Paik, Emmett Williams and many others for the first time.”

– William de Ridder

Between 1963-1964, de Ridder organized Fluxus festivals in Amsterdam, The Hague, Scheveningen and Rotterdam with Wim T. Schippers and took part in performances all over Europe. De Ridder was the most prominent Fluxus member in the Netherlands; it was in his gallery, Amstel 47, that he displayed Fluxus works.

Maciunas asked de Ridder to set up a European Mail-Order Warehouse to sell Fluxworks and to become the chairman of Fluxus for Northern Europe.

De Ridder also founded the magazine SUCK (The First European Sex Paper), which led to The Wet Dream Film Festival.


Official website: https://www.willemderidder.com/ 


Short biography: https://books.google.de/books?id=ZPhLoy0FICMC&pg=PA141&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false 

Biography cards: https://www.fondazionebonotto.org/en/collection/fluxus/deridderwillem/2889.html

Short biography: https://www.soundohm.com/product/all-chemix-radio-2lp-1


Audio & video works: ​​https://www.fondazionebonotto.org/en/collection/fluxus/deridderwillem

Snuff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8bjz5pxeO8&t=617s&ab_channel=mortfeuer

All Chemix Radio: https://www.soundohm.com/product/all-chemix-radio-2lp-1 

software without hardware: http://kunstradio.at/1992A/20_2_92.html 


‘Fluxus Tales’: De Ridder’s career, in his own words: https://flash—art.com/article/fluxus-tales/

Articles: https://www.kunstforum.de/person/ridder-willem-de/

Revisiting Suck magazine’s experiment in radical feminist pornography: https://www.documentjournal.com/2018/11/revisiting-suck-magazines-experiment-in-radical-feminist-pornography/ 


I am a newspaper, 1994: https://whitney.org/collection/works/33155 

Fluxkit by Brecht, Maciunas and de Ridder: https://www.stedelijk.nl/en/collection/12229-george-brecht-fluxkit 

Audio Resources:

Audio of de Ridder live on Radio Revolten, October 2016: https://radiorevolten.net/en/willem-de-ridder/ 

Further Reading:

‘The Adventures of Willem de Ridder’ by Harry Ruhé and Jeannette Dekeukeleire: https://www.ideabooks.nl/9789081245883-the-adventures-of-willem-de-ridder