In the media
Han Nefkens donates a work by Lawrence Weiner to the city of Barcelona
La Vanguardia


The piece is a sculpture about tolerance, located at Mercat Santa Caterina

Han Nefkens (Rotterdam, 1954) is one of the very small group of collectors who don't see art as a passive object of contemplation, but as a system of thought that is worth sharing with others. Lawrence Weiner (New York, 1942) is an artist-poet who transforms words into sculptures that speak. The encounter between the two just over a year ago led to the development of the work FOREVER & A DAY, a sculpture-bench at Mercat Santa Caterina inscribed with the words: “Placed upon the same place as itself”. This beautiful and enigmatic invitation to reflect on the idea of exclusion was the conceptual art pioneer’s response to the proposal to create a work that fights against AIDS at the invitation of the ArtAids Foundation, set up by Dutch art collector Han Nefkens, who is also a writer and a patron.

Weiner’s sculpture was originally intended to be exhibited at Plaça Joan Capri, inside the market, for a period of one year, but Nefken’s donation allows it to remain there indefinitely. “The works of Lawrence Weiner are poetry made art. It is difficult to put into words precisely what he seeks to transmit, but as with all art and all poetry, the important thing is to open your heart and feel. And that’s exactly what ArtAids wanted to achieve by placing this work here at Mercat Santa Caterina, to inspire passers-by to open their hearts to those of us living with HIV, to accept us as just we are, and not exclude us,” Nefkens said during the donation ceremony at midday yesterday, in which Deputy Lord Mayor Jaume Ciurana symbolically accepted the gift on behalf of the city.

Nefkens explains that Weiner’s work “is not just about HIV; it goes further and transmits the idea of living together, no matter how different we are. Because we all form part of the same world, we are all part of the same human family. This work is a symbol of tolerance, and we want to share it with the city of Barcelona, which welcomed us with open arms.” The work was produced with the support of Fundació Banc Sabadell.
Han Nefkens donates a work by Lawrence Weiner to the city of Barcelona

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.