Photo: Anja Beutler © ifa

Conference addresses upcycling and recycling worldwide

Paper Balls and Plastic Bags – Pure Gold?

ifa | How can trash be turned into pure gold? Why does design thrive on waste? And which role do upcycling and recycling play worldwide? These and other questions were discussed by curators, researches, designers and students in the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg. The two day conference accompanied the ifa exhibition "Pure Gold – Upcycled! Upgraded!", which will travel around the world for ten years.

hands with paint, photo: Amaury Salas via Unsplash

Call for Art Funding Programmes

International Art

ifa | Artists, actors and cultural practitioners are invited to apply for ifa's art funding programmes. The closing date for the application is 31 January 2018. With the "Exhibition Funding" programme ifa supports projects in foreign countries of contemporary German artists and artists with residence in Germany. The "Artists' Contact" programme supports intercultural exchange among German and international creative artists. Research trips, international events and Workshops are only some possible events to be supported.

Wolfgang Tillmanns. Fragile, poster series, photo: ifa; © Wolfgang Tillmans

Poster series

Wolfgang Tillmans. Fragile

ifa | Wolfgang Tillmans 'Fragile' exhibition is the first one to show the artist on the African continent. On occasion of the presentation of his works in Kinshasa the ifa offers a series of exclusive exhibition posters.

Site plan of the Humboldt Forum, Berlin, photo/© SHF / Architekt: Franco Stella mit FS HUF PG

Art as a way out of the crisis of representation?

Decolonising ethnological museums

ifa | Dealing with ethnological collections in science and society has become a controversial subject, as the history of ethnological museums is inseparably linked to Eurocentrism and colonialism. Dominant narratives have consistently been reproduced. How can museums encounter this past? Can the transformation of a colonial institution into a space for post-colonial discourse be successful? What are the challenges at the interface of ethnological museums and art?

Photo: Wolfgang Kuhnle

Call for Applications

CrossCulture Programme 2018

ifa | Young professionals and volunteers from Germany and abroad can now apply for the ifa CrossCulture Programme 2018. Politics, human rights and peace, sustainable development or media and culture – CrossCulture offers intercultural exchange and professional experience in different cultural contexts and work areas. Deadline for applications is 12 January 2018. Who can apply? What documents do I have to submit? For more information, please see the call for applications.

Pure Gold Picture Gallery

About the art of recycling waste creatively

ifa | Waste, its disposal and recycling have been on the global agenda for a long time. The exhibition format Pure Gold – Upcycled! Upgraded! shows how to face the problem creatively. Regarding the aspect of sustainability, designers from all over the world present art made from waste. The touring exhibition officially started in Hamburg and will be continued for the next ten years at different venues. The picture gallery presents first results of the exhibition opening at the 'Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe MKG'.

Local Resources and Traditional Handicrafts

Contemporary Architecture from India

ifa | In order to "explore thoughts and ideas", Bijoy Jain founded the "Studio Mumbai" in 2005. Carpenters, roofers, bricklayers, plumbers and many other artisans work in the architectural office aside from architects. The co-creation enables creative processes and designs that combine tradition and modernity. In the exhibition "Between the Sun and the Moon" the ifa Gallery Stuttgart presents the working processes and sources of inspiration of the Indian architect and his team as well as various materials, tools and color samples. The exhibition is part of the "Architekturnovember", organised by the Association of German Architects Baden-Württemberg.
Interview by Constant Formé-Bècherat und Siri Gögelmann

Photo: © Matthias Völzke

Under the Mango Tree - Sites of Learning

What Does Education Mean to you?

ifa | What about the state of education in the arts? During the documenta 14 international educators, cultural producers, artists and scholars discussed this question. The experimental and artistic exchange took place as the documenta itself in Athens and in Kassel. Following the slogan of the event 'Under the Mango Tree – Sites of Learning' it was held outdoors, surrounded by trees.
By Aïcha Diallo

Franz Erhard Walther: Action Bodies (Handlungskörper), 1969, cotton textile sewed; Photo: Uwe Walther, © (Franz Erhard Walther) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2017

Exhibition: World premiere in Dresden

Action Bodies

ifa | Franz Erhard Walther is considered a pioneer of participatory art. As professor at the Art Academy in Hamburg he has gained influence on a wide a range of important artists. At the 57 th art exibition "La Biennale di Venezia 2017", he had been awarded with the Golden Lion as best artist. From 1st september till 20th january, his works are displayed within the exhibition "The Event of a Thread" at the "Kunsthaus Dresden". In an interview Walther speaks about the beginnings of his work in the 1950s, drawing and his own definition of "sculpture".

Photo: © Matthias Völzke

Under the Mango Tree - Sites of Learning

Centering Indigenous Bodies, Thought and Practice

ifa | The event Under the Mango Tree -Sites of Learning, as part of documenta 14, acted as an open forum for the study of the understanding of cultural education and educational initiatives from around the world. The artist Duane Linklater, who took part with the project Woodland School, has met with Aïcha Diallo for an interview. The Canadian artist discussed education, cultural expressions and the centrality of indigenity.

Volker Albus: www/www we want wind/we want water, cork balls, 2015; photo: Philip Radowitz, © Volker Albus/Philip Radowitz


Pure Gold or: Why It Is Worthwhile to Sometimes Pay More Attention to Domestic Waste

ifa | Recycling is an increasingly popular topic among the population. However, recycling is becoming more and more important not only in private households, but also in the art scene. Volker Albus is the curator of the exhibition "Pure Gold" that is dedicated to the topic of recycling and will open in Hamburg on September 15th. In his introductory text, Albus reports on his work with garbage, the variety of recycling, and the recycling-motivated design in recent years.

Photo: Jocelyn Kinghorn (CC BY-SA 2.0)  via Flickr

Biennial Conference: "Curating Under Pressure"

On the ethics of curating

ifa | "What can art achieve in times of crisis?" – The question was central in Christchurch, New Zealand, after the cities had to deal with two serious earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Even though the local biennial was at stake, the organizers decided to continue. The idea of a biennial conference in Christchurch on the ethics of curating came up. Under the headline "Curating Under Pressure" organizers and directors, but also curators, artists, academics as well as representatives and activists from the local art scene participated. Susanne Boecker and Paul Wood summarize the results of the conference.

Contemporary Art from Germany in Mexico

"Imaginar para Imaginar" – A Workshop with Lilian Scholtes

ifa | Four days of pure creativity: With different materials and colours young people from Mexico created their personal artworks during Lilian Scholte's Workshop "Imaginar para Imaginar" in Guadalajara. The exhibition "Future Perfect" served as the source of inspiration. The exhibition includes films, photographs, sculptures, objects, painting, and collages by sixteen artists who look at visions of the future and speculations on the course of history. The next workshop with the art mediator Scholtes takes place from 28 to 31 August in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. For further information see the "Future Perfect Blog".

Philip Jailos at work; Foto: Philip Jailos


"It was a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience and a real eye-opener"

ifa | Philip Jailos from Malawi had a very positive experience at the Ethnolgisches Museum in Berlin during his internship:  "Everyone was so kind and very supportive. The African collection Department was great: it was a department of joyful and lively young people. I was involved with everything within and outside working hours. I got easily absorbed into the system because of how everyone welcomed me at the museum. I really felt at home." A report about his work and impressions.

Flavio Cerqueira: I told you..., 2016; Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery

C& Issue

Overview of all issues

C&/ifa | The first issue of Contemporary And (C&) was published 2014 during the Dakar Biennale. The issue offers online, as well as offline, different narratives of contemporary African art. C& is a dynamic place where topics and information of contemporary art practice and African perspectives are reflected and connected.

ifa | Foto: ifa

Exibition Catalogue

A World in The City: Zoological and Botanic Gardens

ifa | Zoological and botanic gardens are not only places where people spend their leisure time. They are also focal points for education and research. This exhibition in 2017 marks ifa’s one-hundredth anniversary and refers to the legendary exhibition of 1987, Exotic Worlds – European Fantasies, initiated by ifa to explore specific aspects of many institutions in Stuttgart, including Moorish architecture and the theme of “exotic animals in European art” in an exhibition of reproductions in the Wilhelma itself. For us, this anniversary is an opportunity to recall this pioneering earlier exhibition and to take up the theme again by looking from today’s perspective at the transfer, the keeping of, and research into and the presentation of culture and nature from other regions of the world.

Exhibition till 2nd july in Stuttgart.

Irene de Andrés: El Segundo Viaje, 2017; © Irene de Andrés

Untie to Tie

On Urban Cultures and Colonial Legacies

ifa | The exhibition and the public programme in the second chapter show positions dedicated to resisting the colonial legacies in urban cultures, highlighting their potential of opposing hegemonic structures and politics. How are social hierarchies created and represented geographically in contemporary colonial relationships by stereotypical imaginaries? Urban cultures, such as music, fashion and tourism, are used as political or cultural instruments of empowerment and agency. In educating and uplifting stigmatized and discriminated communities, they point towards relations of subordination and domination that were established and are maintained by colonial structures and neocolonial relations: ideologically, psychologically, culturally, and politically. The plurality of positions and narrative voices in chapter 2 widen Eurocentric narratives and show strong counter-positions.

[Translate to English:] Foto: Aida Muluneh Departure 2016 Courtesy of Artist and David Krut Projects


7th Print Issue Is Out Now

C& / ifa | On the occasion of documenta 14: Curriculum of connections, the latest print issue is focused on education. We are glad to feature in this issue leading players involved in the upcoming conference “Under the Mango tree − Ulterior Sites of Learning” taking place on 18–19 July 2017 in Kassel, hosted by the ifa and in cooperation with documenta 14

Photo: Mathias Voelzke

documenta 14

International artists supported by ifa

ifa | On this year's documenta 14 from 08.04. till 16.07.2017 eleven artist supported by the ifa will present their works. These include Arin Rungjang (Thailand), Samnang Khavy (Kambodscha), Ibrahim Mahama (Ghana) and Lala Rukh (Pakistan). Also Nikhil Chopra, Ganesh Haloi, Amar Kanwar and Nilima Shiekh from India will attend the exibition and from Guatemala Regina Galindo José, Joaqium Orellana Mejía and Vivian Suter.


The 'Future Perfect' exhibition arrives in Guadalajara © Fototeca Musa / Nayeli Huizar

ifa exhibitions in Mexico

From Oaxaca to Monterrey

ifa | During the Year of Germany in Mexico 2016-2017 the ifa presents alltogether seven exhibitions in different Mexican cities. Currently 'Sibylle Bergemann. Photographies' and 'Future Perfect' are to be seen in Oaxaca and in Guadalajara respectively. On 8 June the 'Otto Dix. Social Criticism' exhibition will open in Guadalajara. One week later 'Music from an Unknown Source' with 40 gouaches by Sigmar Polke will start in Oaxaca.

Flavio Cerqueira: I told you..., 2016; Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery


Learning to Unlearn

ifa | Elke aus dem Moore, Head of the Visual Arts Department at the ifa – Institute for International Cultural Relations, and Sepake Angiama, Head of Education at documenta 14, talk about shifting educational approaches in art, new curricula, and the conference Under the Mango Tree – Ulterior Sites of Learning on this subject

Kaiwan Mehta, photo: ifa / Gögelmann
Kaiwan Mehta, photo: ifa / Gögelmann

A World in the City

The worlds within... what is found there?

ifa | We are all familiar with something we call Natural History, but what would be the history of Natural History? Where I specifically would see Natural History as forms of relationships that human beings and human civilisations share with nature and Nature. This relationship is akin to a world view that people and civilisations develop and live with.
By Kaiwan Mehta

Anne Imhof: Faust, 2017 (12); © Anne Imhof, photo: Nadine Fraczkowski

Venice Biennale 2017

Anne Imhof. Faust

ifa | A room, a house, a pavilion, an institution, a state. Glass walls and glass ceilings, fluid and crystalline, permeate the room as if it were one of the centers of financial power. At the invitation of Susanne Pfeffer, Anne Imhof has conceived the work 'Faust' for the German Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. 'Faust' is both a five-hour production and a seven-month-long scenario comprised of performative dynamics, sculptural installations, painterly touches, and rigorously choreographed visual axes and movements.

Portrait of the director of ifa galery Berlin Alya Sebti, 2017 © ifa / Tomaschko


Thinking Tout-monde with Alya Sebti | Alya Sebti, director of the ifa Gallery Berlin, unveiled the 2017 curatorial season for us: UNTIE TO TIE.

Exhibition "Politics of Sharing" at ifa Gallery Berlin, 2016 © ifa / Tomaschko


Politics of Sharing – On Collective Wisdom

ifa | As a result of an international research and exhibition project the publication 'Politics of Sharing – On Collective Wisdom' presents perspectives that aim to activate our collective knowledge, our experience and our practices of sharing in the context of contemporary art and visual culture. 

Museumsinsel Berlin © Johannes Haile


Skyscrapers, Steel Plants and Shoe Shiners

ifa | Johannes Haile captured in pictures what the people in front of his camera felt: deep trust and empathy. His photographs take us on a journey to almost forgotten landscapes of memory: In the 1960s, the Ethiopian photographer visited the Federal Republic and caught on camera the everyday life of the industrial boom. In her exhibition 'With different Eyes' the anthropologist and writer Meskerem Assegued presents some of these photographs for the first time in Germany. In this interview, she talks about her curatorial decisions and Haile's life with and for photography.
By Juliane Pfordte

Can art lead us in the right direction? Photo: Todd Diemer (CC BY 2.0), via Unsplash


Institutions in Transiton

ifa | ''I believe in the potential of art in processes of social transformation and I am sure that institutions can show the way," says Elke aus dem Moore, Head of the ifa Fine Arts Department. In an interview she talks about global trends in the field of art, the role of cultural institutions and her personal interest in encounters, with and by means of art. By Yeast, Art of Sharing



'In the Carpet': exhibition at ifa gallery Stuttgart, 2016 © ifa/Siri Gögelmann


Blooming Pencils and Woven Symbols

ifa | At the end of school holidays, Taysir Batniji as a young boy sharpened pencils for hours. Today, a field of pencil shavings is part of one of his most famous performances. The Palestinian artist was born 1966 in Gaza. With his installation 'Hannoun', Batniji is confronting two central dimensions of his life: the conflictive situation in Gaza, and living in exile. The installation is featured in the exhibition 'In the Carpet ǀ Über den Teppich'. Another work shown in the exhibition is from Amina Agueznay. The Casablanca-born artist loves collaborating with Moroccan weavers and artisans from the countryside. With her textiles installations she deals with traditional motifs and craft techniques. In the interview they talk about the mutual influences between arts, crafts and culture.
Interview by Mustafa Yapakci and Siri Gögelmann

angela n. (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Redecoration politics

Will Trump’s White House push back recent gains by African-American artists? | Obama's fine selection of works from Glenn Ligon to Alma Thomas is going to leave the White House. But what's coming instead?
By Sean O'Toole

Politics of Sharing, vernissage at the ifa Gallery Stuttgart in July 2016

Politics of Sharing | Interview

A space for unheard voices

ifa | How can we preserve good living conditions on our planet? From which concepts of community and sharing can we learn today? Focusing on collective knowledge, other ideas of community and our relation to nature, the exhibition 'Politics of Sharing – Collective Wisdom' eopens our view to other worlds of thought. In the interview, Gabriel Rossell-Santillán, Natalie Robertson and Daniel Maier-Reimer talk about impulses in their artistic pursuit and provide an insight into the situation of the indigenous communities in Mexico and New Zealand.
Interview by Siri Gögelmann

Curator Meskerem Assegued © Guenet Assegued


My Memories of Johannes Haile

ifa | 'He was a great deal of fun', says Meskerem Assegued about Johannes Haile. The Ethiopian photographer was not only her mentor but also a friend. Assegued describes Haile as someone who never liked fake smiles and who enjoyed capturing serene expressions. Meskerem Assegued is founding director of the Zoma Contemporary Art Center (ZCAC) in Addis Ababa and curator of the 'With Different Eyes. Germany in the Sixties – Photographs by Johannes Haile' exhibition.
Article by Meskerem Assegued

Contemporary &: 'I grew up with Johannes Haile and his photographs'. Interview with Meskerem Assegued

Tabiat bridge, Tehran; photo: Mohammad Hassan Ettefagh

Interview / Podcast

The Bridge of Nature

Tehran – a metropolis with about twelve million inhabitants, countless roads and noisy streets. Right in the middle: the Tabiat Bridge (Persian "Nature" ), a pedestrian oasis hovering above a highway. The award-winning bridge – shortlisted for Aga Khan Award 2016 – was designed by Leila Araghian. During a visit at ifa Gallery Stuttgart she talks about her inspiration, why people are fascinated by the bridge and the obstacles she faced with her project.
Interview by Juliane Pfordte, podcast by Siri Gögelmann

Gorodeja, Weißrussland, 2005: Dorfbewohnerinnen sammeln Preiselbeeren und tragen sie in Säcken durch den Sumpf. © Andrei Liankevich: Belarus portfolio, 2010


"Art gives you more freedom to transmit a message"

ifa | Belarus – terra incognita? Even more than 20 years after its independence from the Soviet Union and despite its geographical proximity to the European Union, in the "West" its image is still diffuse and clichéd. But how do the Belarusians depict their country, known as "Europe's last dictatorship"? How does the younger generation comment on the state of their country and how has its art scene developed over the past years? The ifa in conversation with photographers Andrei Liankevich and Aleksander Veledzimovich.
Interview by Juliane Pfordte

25.01.2018, 19:00 h - 21:00 h | ifa Gallery Berlin
On Riots and Resistance
Exhibition opening
26.01.2018 to 27.01.2018 | ACUD Studio, Berlin
Riots: Dissent and Spectres, Control and Ruptures
Lectures, Artist Talks, Screenings and Performance
26.01.2018 | Klaipėda Culture Communication Center (KCCC), Klaipėda
Leap in Time. Erich Salomon. Barbara Klemm
Exhibition opening

ifa programmes on arts exchange

Catalogue of the ifa-Library

[] ifa-Bibliothek
Scott Webb, via Unsplash