Forgive me for what I have not done: new Otto Berchem work commissioned by H+F Collection
American artist Otto Berchem (1967), who lives in Amsterdam, has created a new work commissioned by the H+F Collection of writer and patron Han Nefkens. The work is entitled Forgive me for what I have not done and will be on show through 25 March 2012 at Out of Storage. This exhibition, which is being presented in the Timmerfabriek in Maastricht, the Netherlands, has been compiled by curator Hilde Teerlinck from works from the collection of FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais in Dunkirk, France. After the exhibition closes, Nefkens will give the work to the FRAC on long-term loan.

Forgive me for what I have not done is inspired by a tattoo. It was seen in a Puerto Rican jail being worn by a prisoner as an expression of his remorse for his actions: “Perdoname madre por lo que he hecho” (Mother forgive me for what I have done). While the original sentence conveys a primary form of guilt, altering the phrase turns it into a testimony of remorse for actions that have not (yet) been committed. Using the phrase “Forgive me for what I have not done” as the departure point, Otto Berchem is developing a series of works that includes text, drawings, paintings and sound. They all examine the concepts of remorse, guilt, failure and ultimately hope. The first part of the series comprises the sentence ‘Forgive me for what I have not done’ in reflective capitals, and confronts viewers with themselves.

Photo: Marres Projects/Johannes Schwartz

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Forgive me for what I have not done: new Otto Berchem work commissioned by H+F Collection                              

The ArtAids foundation was set up in 2006 at Han Nefkens’ initiative. ArtAids fights AIDS with the power of art as its most important weapon. ArtAids invites leading artists to produce work that is inspired by AIDS and related problems. These works of art are used to raise the public’s consciousness and to encourage their involvement.

Fundació Han Nefkens

The Han Nefkens Foundation is a private non-profit organisation that was set up in Barcelona in 2009 with the aim of promoting the production of contemporary artworks. The mission is to stimulate artistic creation in Barcelona by offering international artists an opportunity to create artworks and interventions in the city, and to promote other fields of contemporary creation.


Han Nefkens started to collect art in 2000. The H+F Collection, named after himself and his partner Felipe, is in long-term loan to various museums in The Netherlands and abroad. Nowadays Han Nefkens is not only active as a collector but also as an initiator of international art projects, often in collaboration with museums and other art institutions.