Faustus in Africa, production of the Handspring Puppet Company

African strategies of appropriating European Literature

"Faust" in Africa – interpretations from new angles

ifa | Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is a worldwide figurehead of "German" culture. His "Faust" employs countless readers, theatregoers, artists, scientists and thought leaders also outside Europe. Leo Kreutzer, Edith Ihekweazu and William Kentridge provide interesting insights into the interpretations of Goethe's work in and from sub-Saharan Africa.

Cultural and public spaces

Design of Museums

ifa | What can we learn from Ikea when planning a museum? At his lecture at the Martin Roth Symposium in Berlin the Chinese architect Ma Yansong presents various architecture projects and emphasizes, why we should not serve common expectations in order to trigger a constructive discussion. Through his examples he points out the potential of cultural buildings to change people's reception of a city.

Antje Majewski: Entity, 2009, installation view; © (Antje Majewski) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, Photo: The Model, home of The Niland Collection/Heike Thiele

An artwork inspired Namibian historian to write a poem

Unseen one's

ifa | A dried fruit, portrayed larger than life, in front of a painting showing a cultural encounter in the "Pavilion of Entity": Antje Majewski's installation shown at ifa's touring exhibition "Future Perfect" has inspired Namibian historian and researcher Memory Biwa together with her sister Joan to write a thrilling poem about the feeling and emotions of an object.

Portray of Volker Albus, curator of the exhibition "Pure Gold – and its emotional touch"

Contribution to the London Design Biennale 2018

"Ideas are more valuable than gold"

ifa | "If a person manages to use their abilities to create something unique out of something banal, then this is like pure gold", says Volker Albus. He is the curator of the exhibition "Pure Gold – Upcycling and its Emotional Touch", the German contribution to this year's London Design Biennale.

Graffiti on the wall of the the social housing project "Wohnhaus Schlesisches Tor" in Berlin

Gentrification, privatisation and the reclaiming of public space

"Eradicating the history of a city equals eliminating its soul"

ifa | It was her second time in the German capital when the Iranian urban sociologist Masserrat Amir-Ebrahimi arrived to Berlin this April. While her first visit was full of interesting museums and movies, this stay Amir-Ebrahimi witnessed the "resistant" and the "activist" character of Berlin.

International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

A space for unheard voices

ifa | What does "community" mean for the Maori in New Zealand? Which solutions do the Mexican Huicholes offer to the problem of environmental pollution? A conversation with three artists from Mexico, Germany and New Zealand about different concepts of sharing and the important task museums to preserve the knowledge of indigenous peoples

African masks in Valencia

Reflection on the colonial past in the museum present

"Museums must radically challenge their orders of knowledge"

ifa | Dusty masks from distant countries, exoticising insights into the life of "alien" cultures, objects from the colonial era and Eurocentric orders of knowledge – ethnological collections are exposed to a great deal of criticism. But what can museums do in response? "Even though museums present themselves in a global light, they have not left eurocentrism behind," says Regina Wonisch, who addresses the issue of curatorial challenges at the interface of ethnological museums and art in her study "Reflexion kolonialer Vergangenheit in der musealen Gegenwart?". In the interview, she speaks about the Humboldt Forum in Berlin and which approaches and solutions she deems necessary.

How can a museum be truly open to the world?

The museum beyond walls

ifa | "The museum today has to think about itself as part of the community that it is serving," says Mariët Westermann. At the Martin Roth Symposium in Berlin she presented her ideas about the role of museums and institutions in transmitting shared ideas and values. A statement by the Executive Vice President for Programs and Research at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Photo: Galerije Miodrag Dado Djuric, Cetinje / Jovan Milošević

Touring exhibition "Rosemarie Trockel"

Art, fritters and "Vrana" in Cetinje

ifa | Cetinje is a small town in Montenegro. A good place to dive into the country's food and coffee culture- but also to discover the local art scene. The Berlin based art historian, curator and author An Paenhuysen came here to accompany ifa's touring exhibition "Rosemarie Trockel". The show opened in May 2018 at the Galerije Miodrag Dado Djuric, a fascinating exhibition space in a former store building from the Yugoslav socialist period. The exhibition ends on 10th of July. With enthusiasm An Paenhuysen gives a personal insight into her experiences and impressions in Cetinje.

Wolfgang Tillmans touring exhibition, Nairobi; Photo: Goethe-Institut / Julian Manjahi

Neo Muyanga: Wolfgang Tillmans's position in a complex world

The new NOW moment: yes AND no!

ifa | An attitude of tolerance, the appreciation of what one fears or does not know, and the openness to explore the world with one's own five senses – for Neo Muyanga this is the appropriate mindset to face our time and the political situation right NOW. The South African composer, musician and author observes the world Tillmans inhabits and also habitually reflects on and about. The exhibition Wolfgang Tillmans Fragile  will opened at the Johannesburg Art Gallery on 8 July 2018. In his essay for the publication of the exhibition Muyanga is concerned with the complexity of the current global moment and the value of an artist who seeks to transgress. "Yes AND No!" to him this is a very suitable description for the tensions of our current times.

Exhibtion "Riots: Slow Cancellation of the Future", ifa Gallery 27 April - 24 June; Photo: ifa / Tomaschko

On riots and resistance

Caught in an age of riots

ifa | What is the difference between riots of the past and today? Valérie Hammerbacher of ifa's visual arts department talked with Natasha Ginwala, the curator of the exhibition "Riots: Slow Cancellation of the Future". She speaks about how past riots affect our present and about her ideas and concepts behind the exposition. The exhibition at ifa Gallery Stuttgart ends on 24. June.

Wifredo Lam Center of Contemporary Art, organiser and host for the Havana Art Biennial. Photo: C&/ Courtesy of Contemporary Art Center Wifredo Lam, Havana, Cuba.

Art scene in Cuba

What happened with the Havanna Biennial?

Contemporary And | While the Berlin Biennial will open its doors for interested visitors on 9 June, somewhere else in the world an important art exhibition has been cancelled. Due to Hurricane Irma in 2017 the traditional Havanna Biennial was postponed to 2019. The cancellation caused controversies, protests and discussions within the local art scene. Therefore a group of artists started organising an alternative Biennial – an independent space from official structures. 

Piece of the exhibition Ex-Africa: A morrocan man, Omar Victor Diop, Senegal, 2014,

Contemporary and Latin America: installation view

Ex Africa

Contemporary And | What is everyday life like for people in Africa? The art exhibition "Ex Africa" in Belo Horizonte, Brazil features 18 Artists from eight different African countries. Through installations, video art, photography music and performance, they depict a fragment of African Lifestyle.

Picture of an audiotape from the national broadcasting archive in Guinea-Bissau; Photo: Rui Vilela

Reconstruction of the history of colonisation

A story of true liberation fighters and false heroes of trade

ifa | The Portuguese artist Rui Vilela felt "the desire to listen" while he dealt with Portugal's colonial historiography. For his project "Non-historicised Histories" he took a look at the archive of audiotapes in Guinea-Bissau. During this work Vilela found audio recordings from speeches of freedom fighters as well as from representatives of the colonial regime. Furthermore he collaborated closely with contemporary witnesses and historians from Guinea-Bissau, in order to be able to present the country's colonial background in his installations. Vilela received support from the ifa-programme Artists' Contacts. In the interview he talks about colonial historiography, diverse narratives and his artistic work.

Exibition view: "Riots: Slow Cancellation of the Future. On Riots and Resistance" in the ifa Gallery Stuttgart

Unpolitical and spoiled: Generation Y under criticism

"Get up, stand up!"

ifa | Mara Zöller believes that past riots may be pretty instructive. As one of the first the student visited the exhibition "Riots: Slow Cancellation of the Future. On Riots and Resistance", which will be shown at ifa Gallery Stuttgart from 27 April until 24 June. In a comment she appeals to her generation for vouching peacefully for their own opinion.

Palaeontologist Nelson Ernesto Nhamutole at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart

A Mozambican palaeontologist in Germany

Fossils and first impressions

ifa | Nelson Ernesto Nhamutole had doubts about coming to Germany. For three months, the 33 year old Mozambican works at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart. The residence of the curator of the paleontological laboratory in Maputo was encouraged by the Rave Scholarship of ifa. When we met him at his workplace he told us about common aspects in Mozambique about Germans and why he brought over 250 Million years old fossils from his home country.

Wolfgang Tillmans, Deer Hirsch, 1995

Wolfgang Tillmans in Nairobi

What else can a photograph be?

ifa | Kenyan artist Jackie Karuti reveals her thoughts about Wolfgang Tillmans' work and establishes a reference to several Kenyan artists and photography in Kenya. Karuti practice is largely experimental and employs the use of new media. The artist is based in Nairobi, where the exhibition "Fragile" is presented at "The GoDown Arts Centre" and the "Circle Art Gallery" from 12 April to 11 Mai. The exhibition provides a comprehensive overview of the many-facetted work of Wolfgang Tillmans.

The Birds of Nepal, photo: Heide Hinrichs

Exhibition funding

About the unlikelihood of flying some 'Birds of Nepal' temporarily back to their place of origin

ifa | In 2017 German artist Heide Hinrichs work was featured in the debut Kathmandu Triennale, curated by Philippe van Cauteren. Hinrichs' idea was to pick up the current discourse about postcolonialism and the efforts of countries like Nepal to tell stories of the past from their own perspective. She succeeded in bringing original drawings of Nepalese birds commissioned by Brian Hodgson between 1825 and 1857 from the Natural History Museum in London back to the place of their origin.

Photo:  Molly Adams (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Trump and the cultural sector

Houston, we (do not) have a problem

ifa | How do matters stand with regard to transatlantic cultural relations? In the report "After the American election.The scope for action in German-American cultural relations" Curd Knüpfer forecasts two scenarios: change and adaptation to the new situation or the continuity of programmes that have been stable for many years. In an interview he speaks about the current situation of American cultural and educational institutions and what they expect from Germany's Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy.

An Paenhuysen, Photo: Marko Ercegović, Muzej Savremene Umetnosti Vojvodina, Novi Sad

International Women's Day

Novi Sad: women artists, teeth, and neo-feminism

ifa |"Even in our sleeping state we're gendered", thinks the art historian, curator and author An Paenhuysen.  She accompanies the exhibition "Rosemarie Trockel" since 2016. With her feminist art work Rosemarie Trockel often raises controversies. For the opening of the exhibition An Paenhuysen visited Novi Sad, Serbia. She wrote down her thoughts about portraits of men, capitalism in Novi Sad and "neo-feminism".

Photo: Robert Carrubba / Goethe-Institut Kinshasa

Finissage in Kinshasa

Wolfgang Tillmans at Échangeur

ifa | ''For him, each photo is an act of love, respect and a form of embrace between himself and his photographic subjects'', says Patrick Mudekereza, author and cultural producer, about Wolfgang Tillmans. Tillmans' exhibition ''Fragile'' can be seen in the Museum of Contemporary Art and Multimedia in Kinshasa until 18 of February. For Mudekereza the 210 meter high cement tower of the museum serves as a reminder of Kinshasas power in the country. An essay about an extraordinary exhibition at an extraordinary place.

[Translate to English:] Helga Paris: Winsstraße mit Taube, 1970er-Jahre Foto/©: Helga Paris

Exhibition "Helga Paris. Photography" opens at the ifa Gallery Stuttgart

The pervasive postwar mood   

ifa | Alternating between single images and series, the work of Helga Paris presents a pictorial record of German history encompassing more than 30 years. Her photographs report on life in the GDR. They have an additional psychological quality that permits identification in a unique way. This quality derives from Paris's respect for and appreciation of her subjects, which her pictures in turn are capable of expressing.
By Inka Schube

Touring exhibition "Rosemarie Trockel" at the Kosovo National Art Gallery. Photo: © ifa/ Ulli Groetz

Touring exhibition arrived in pristina

Coffee culture and contemporary Art

ifa | Provoking, surprising and controversial: ifa's touring exhibition "Rosemarie Trockel" moved from Tirana to Pristina, where the opening took place on 19th December at the Kosovo National Art Gallery. An Paenhuysen accompanies the exhibition with speeches, workshops and guided tours.  In Prisitina she got an insight into the local art scene, met with artists, designers and attended a very special performance. She reports with enthusiasm about Pristina's coffee culture, architecture and exciting encounters.
By An Paenhuysen

[Translate to English:] Foto: 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.

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.

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

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?

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'.

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".
Interview by Marco Fiedler

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. Interview by Aïcha Diallo

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.

Upcoming Events

25.10.2018, 16:30 h - 17:30 h | ifa Gallery Stuttgart
Earthen architecture today
Guided tour with art historian Andrea Welz
29.10.2018, 19:00 h - 22:00 h | Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte (MUCA), Mexiko-Stadt
The Whole World a Bauhaus
Exhibition opening

News / Press Releases

ASEM Cultural Festival

The themes of connectivity and heritage play a major role at the festival entitled "Europe meets Asia, Asia meets Europe".

Asia-Europe Meeting | 18.10.2018