Han Nefkens © Roberto Ruiz
From Collecting to Caring
Love at first sight really does exist. When I saw the exhibition Pipilotti Rist: Remake of the Weekend at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in May 1999, I was absorbed in the universe Rist created with her videos. I smelled the wet earth, I felt her skin against mine, and I swayed along with her singing voice. When I left the museum two and a half hours later, I knew I wanted to be a part of that world and share what moved me with other people.
Since I’m not an artist, the only way to do so is by collecting work that is shown at art institutions. The first work I bought was a video installation by Pipilotti Rist that is now on long-term loan as a promised gift at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen along with 400 other works lent to different museums.
Along the way, I found out that many artists, even well-known ones, often find it difficult to finance new productions. So, instead of buying art I started to commission new works in collaboration with art institutions. The directors and curators of the museums and I would discuss proposals from different artists, and I was able to follow the creative process from inception up until completion. I saw that the end product would often be very different from the initial idea and I realised that making art was not the rigid execution of a fixed plan, but an organic process where changes are made along the way. I took that as an example of how I wanted my Foundation to work.
I also got involved in the production of cutting-edge fashion, I created ArtAids, a Foundation that fights the stigma around HIV/Aids through art, and I set up grants for Spanish-speaking writers. However, as time went by, I began to realise that since these projects were situated in such different disciplines, they did not strengthen each other. On the contrary, the identity of my Foundation had blurred, and my efforts, both financially and attention-wise, were too scattered.
That is why in 2016, I decided to focus exclusively on my first love, video art. The Han Nefkens Foundation now supports emerging international video artists through Awards, Production Grants and Mentorship Grants. We work intensively with artists in a made-to-measure way, according to each artist’s needs. We not only produce new work with them and find international platforms to show that work, but we also finance residencies abroad, produce books, purchase working tools such as new cameras, find technical support, bring them into contact with art institutions and other artists, and we take care of travel arrangements and red tape. Equally important, we serve as a sounding board and provide curatorial assistance if required.
The approach of the Foundation is both personal and personalised in an effort to give artists the most precious commodity we have: our time.
The Han Nefkens Foundation supports emerging and mid-career video artists by financing production and providing them with an international platform. We do this through awards, scholarships, commissions and residencies. Because of our extensive network in countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, Ecuador, Peru, Spain and the Netherlands we are able to present the new videos created by these artists to a diverse and global audience. While doing this we strive for a personal and long-term relationship with the people and institutions we work with. In short, the Han Nefkens Foundation connects people through art.
La Fundación Han Nefkens apoya a los artistas de video emergentes y de mitad de carrera financiando la producción y proporcionándoles una plataforma internacional. Hacemos esto a través de premios, becas, comisiones y residencias. Debido a nuestra extensa red en países como Tailandia, Vietnam, Camboya, Corea, Ecuador, Perú, España y los Países Bajos, podemos presentar los nuevos videos creados por estos artistas a un público diverso y mundial. Mientras que hacemos esto, buscamos una relación personal y de largo plazo con las personas e instituciones con las que trabajamos. En resumen, la Fundación Han Nefkens conecta a las personas a través del arte.
La Fundació Han Nefkens dóna suport als artistes de vídeo emergents i de meitat de carrera finançant la producció i proporcionant-los una plataforma internacional. Fem això a través de premis, beques, comissions i residències. A causa de la nostra extensa xarxa en països com Tailàndia, Vietnam, Cambodja, Corea, Equador, Perú, Espanya i els Països Baixos, podem presentar els nous vídeos creats per aquests artistes a un públic divers i global. Mentre que fem això, busquem una relació personal i de llarg termini amb les persones i institucions amb les que treballem. En resum, la Fundació Han Nefkens connecta a les persones a través de l’art.
MoMA & Lincoln Center, New York