- Digital Formats
ifa presents an exhibit from its Touring Exhibitions. In the Touring Exhibitions ifa presents contemporary art from Germany worldwide. After years of travelling through international museums, the exhibitions are transferred to the ifa's art collection, which houses several thousand works of art—works ranging from Rebecca Horn to Gerhard Richter, from Helga Paris to Marcel Odenbach.
With the exhibition 'Weltreise' (Travelling the World), curated by Matthias Flügge and Matthias Winzen, for the first time a comprehensive and at the same time exemplary insight into ifa's exhibits was given. The exhibition was opened in 2013 at ZKM in Karlsruhe, and has since been presented at nine locations—as its journey around the world continues!
The series 'Artwork of the Month' is intended to expand access to ifa's invisible art collection and offer a glimpse 'behind the scenes'. The 'Artwork of the Month' will be presented as the original in ifa Gallery in Stuttgart and will be published digitally.
Five white, cube-shaped pedestals, each surmounted by a green cube of the same size, stand in a row. Above each cube hangs a silver lamp, illuminating a cloudy green liquid: plankton. Formally, the structure is reminiscent of a serial sculpture in the tradition of minimalism, and yet the viewer seems rather to be present at a scientifically inspired experiment. Unusual for a museum context, the plankton is alive. The artwork's other materials come not from a traditional art supply shop but from a DIY market. The base is made of commercially available Ytong blocks, the cubes are aquariums of simple glass.
In the early 1990s, the artist Else Gabriel came across two ring binders at a Berlin flea market. She described her find as follows: '192 b/w photocopies of typewritten texts and originally coloured gouaches [...] and some collaged images of animals and newspaper odds and ends. It's about Africa. Don't ask. Buy. Wasn't expensive. 1 DM each.' On another slip of paper, a note: 'Lemonade. From Africa.'
Is this note really the starting point for the work? Green lemonade made from plankton? And why 'From Africa'? 'Plankton', translated from the ancient Greek, means 'wandering, drifting about'. Who is doing the wandering and the drifting? The plankton or the author of the note, or we standing before the shimmering green aquariums? At any rate, the artist doesn't ask questions; she buys, acts, and leaves the resultant work to respond to any enquiries.
'Sometimes no answer comes of a question, especially of a particularly good question, but rather, if you look at the question carefully, only, even so, a better question.' (G. W. F. Hegel)
The artist name (e.) Twin Gabriel stands for the artist couple Else Gabriel and Ulf Wrede. They have been working together since the late 1980s. The subversive investigations of their performances and installations retain the sceptical and ironic attitude that they practiced in the GDR.
The work Lemonade. From Africa and other works by (e.) Twin Gabriel were on view from 2000 - 2008 at the ifa exhibition QUOBO - Art in Berlin 1989-1999
A street lost in fog. Here and there people walk on the wide pavements. An advertising sign hangs on a façade eaten away by time: 'Werner Wendt, Hat Shapes Model Making, Ground-Floor'. Parked on the street, one after another, almost always the same car model. A pigeon flies into the grey nothingness.
The calm gaze with which Helga Paris captured her neighbourhood in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, is characteristic of her photographs. They have a simple poetry that lets the viewer feel the familiarity and social empathy with which Paris shows everyday life in the GDR. Her interest and affection belong to the proletarian milieu of the big city.
Paris is a self-taught photographer and first took pictures of her children, then family, friends and neighbours. Coming from a working-class family, she possesses the ability to get close to the people around her, in the corner bars and in the streets. During these encounters, her camera is often invisible to the people photographed. Her friend the poet Elke Erb calls the look with which Paris meets people 'cradle honesty'.
The monographic ifa exhibition Helga Paris has been on tour since 2012. It displays the artist's photographic work created between 1968 and 2011.
An orange tracing paper dominates almost the entire collage. The paper shows various signs of use; it is folded, crumpled and smoothed out again. Lines resulting from the folding run straight across the entire paper or form a tangle of ramifications. The glossy surface reflects light in all directions.
At the top left of the collage can be seen a series of blue pencil dots. Each individual point has its peculiarities, is more or less extended, has a direction, or stays where it is. The individual rows of the series form waves that merge into one another and, finally, are submerged into the orange. In the background, a network of dark lines shows through from the back of the paper. Layers of different, transparent materials overlap in the work. In the centre is a piece of white paper, torn off on one side in a wavy line.
Hanns Schimansky is a draftsman, and as such an inventor, discoverer and researcher. He develops his formal language from observing his surroundings. The coast on which he grew up and the city in which he lives provide him with diverse ideas. His drawings constantly reformulate his observations, varying, abbreviating and experimenting with them.
Schimansky concentrates himself with all his senses on the medium of drawing. He is one of those artists who have dedicated themselves entirely to working with and on paper. For him, drawing is a direct, purposeful treatment of the medium. Being a draftsman means for him setting something against the dizzying media world – slowing down.
The ifa art collection includes 11 collages by Hanns Schimansky, which he created in the early 1990s. Another drawing from 1983 comes from the holdings of the Centre for Art Exhibitions of the GDR, whose collection was merged with that of ifa after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
This doesn’t look like a tasty, healthy salad. If we strip off the individual layers of Dieter Roth's 'Gemischter Kopfsalat', do we get to the heart of the work, to the issues that have occupied the artist throughout his life? Or do we end up standing in front of just a collection of confused ideas?
Alone the different printing techniques and number of colours used depict the complex nature of the work: screen printing, lithography, etching in zinc and drawing, in twelve colours on Hahnemühle handmade paper. The layers superimposed on each other result in an impenetrable tangle of information. The round shape that fills the print is reminiscent of the two halves of a brain. In the course of viewing the image, we see new details, but have difficulty extracting them from the grey matter. Just as it is sometimes with our own thoughts.
Dieter Roth was at home in all the genres of art. He worked as a visual artist, book designer, musician and filmmaker, poet and author. He became known for his works made of transitory materials that undergo a process of gradual change and decay. In the print 'Gemischter Kopfsalat', he addresses these processes of dissolution on a visual level.
Roth was engaged in several exhibitions for ifa, including 'Fluxus' and Travelling the World. Art from Germany. 'Gemischter Kopfsalat' was created as a print run for ifa.
Swaths of fabrics, yarns, woven materials – textiles are often regarded as pure decoration. Against this way of seeing them, the artist Judith Raum sets her extensive research and artistic installations on textiles, not only reactivating the peculiarities of historical fabrics by lavish re-weavings but also revealing them as carriers of political and social narratives.
The installation 'Bauhausraum' was developed for the ifa touring exhibition 'The Event of a Thread. Global Narratives in Textiles' and approaches the history of the weaving and textile workshop of the Bauhaus on different levels. Raum travelled to international archives to study historical documents and remnants of materials from the workshop: in this way she studied not only its extraordinary success story but also the history of its tradition. The result of her detailed research is six chapters that invite visitors to touch, listen, see and read an extensive multi-media installation and, above all, to let the materials speak for themselves and to hear the voices of the weavers through quotations. The work treats not only the relationships between craft, artistic medium, and the changing aesthetic programme of the textile workshop as a mirror of the different political visions of the Bauhaus directors, but also the question of (the reputed) gender equality at the Bauhaus.
On display in The Event of a Thread. Global Narratives in Textiles (since 2017)
Text: Laura Wünsche