Han Nefkens (Rotterdam, 1947) is a writer and art collector, or, as he prefers to call himself, an art activist. 1999 could be pinpointed as the year when Nefkens – after coming face to face with Bill Viola’s "The Crossing" (1996) and several works by Pipilotti Rist – understood that he wanted to be part of the contemporary art world.
Since being diagnosed HIV positive in 1987, he has fought to overcome the taboos and stigmas that socially afflict AIDS, a struggle that he stepped up with the creation of the ArtAids Foundation in 2006.
As a writer, he has published four books including "Borrowed Time" (Tiempo Prestado, 2011), which was also published in Spanish by Alfabia.
The H+F Collection currently consists of 450 works by 87 artists, which are deposited by way of bequest at institutions such as the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, the Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and the Folkwang Museum in Essen. If one thing can be considered to define Nefkens’ art patronage over the years, it is his militant desire to disseminate, produce, and, above all, share the art that he is passionate about and the different forms of knowledge that it connects us to.
Son(i)a talked to Han Nefkens about art, writing, art collecting and patronage, on the occasion of the presentation of the Han Nefkens Foundation MACBA Award.