Writer and collector Han Nefkens (Rotterdam, 1954) purchases international contemporary art with the express purpose of giving it to museums on long-term loan. ‘For me it’s about much, much more than owning a work of art: it’s about sharing a vision with other people.’
Han Nefkens first joined forces with the Centraal Museum in Utrecht. In 1999, while searching for a way to make his collection accessible to a wider public, Nefkens approached the museum’s then director, Sjarel Ex. It was to become a productive and intensive partnership. Within a short period of time the museum was given works by Bill Viola, Tony Oursler and Pipilotti Rist on long-term loan. Later acquisitions were to follow, including work by Shirin Neshat, Sam Taylor-Wood, Thomas Rentmeister, Dan Graham and Diana Thater.
In addition to the Centraal Museum, from 2000 onwards Nefkens also granted works of art on long-term loan to the Folkwang Museum in Essen, De Pont Museum for Contemporary Art in Tilburg, Huis Marseille Museum for Photography in Amsterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Museum Het Domein in Sittard and the FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais in Dunkirk. Most loans will be left with their respective museums as bequests.
Since 2005 Nefkens has mainly bought works intended for specific exhibitions and other projects.
In 2006, in consultation with Els Barents, director of Huis Marseille, he bought the photos shown in the Whisper Not! exhibition; in 2007, on the occasion of the exhibition David Goldblatt: Intersections in Huis Marseille he bought ten photos from the series ‘AIDS Landscapes’ by this South-African photographer.
In 2005, after close consultation with Nefkens, curator Hilde Teerlinck created the travelling exhibition The Suspended Moment, and this collaboration was continued in 2007 with the exhibition So Close/So Far Away.
A number of works were also purchased or commissioned for the 2007 exhibition Choix d’artistes at the Institut Néerlandais in Paris.
‘I’d like to be a fly on the wall in the museum and see the people looking, listen to them talking. How does the art I’ve collected affect people?’