Global Narratives in Textiles

In textiles, tradition meets the present, arts meet crafts, local forms of knowledge meet global relationships. Personal and aesthetic stories connect with those about social and economic conditions. There is hardly a region in which the textiles have not inscribed themselves into cultural and industrial history. Thus textiles also narrate the migration and evolution of materials and techniques.

In 1965 the Bauhaus artist Anni Albers described 'the event of a thread' as something multilinear, without beginning and end. An opportunity to look again anew and re-structure relationships and contexts. This re-ordering gaze unfolds in the objects, installations and video essays shown in 'The Event of a Thread'. They broach the context of textiles, their specific quality and history, and their connection to current issues.

Textiles are at the heart of the ifa touring exhibition, which focuses on questions including: Which inherent meanings and messages can be found in fabrics? What is their cultural significance? How can textiles be 'read'? What can fabrics 'tell' us about their origins, meanings and social roles? Which traditional textile techniques have artists appropriated, abstracted, relocated and brought back to life? Textiles constitute a locus in which art encounters handicraft, traditions meet the present day, and local knowledge intersects with global relationships. The exhibition highlights the multiple complex ways in which the participating artists work with textiles. They link personal and aesthetic narratives with the social and economic configuration of a globalised world.


Ullla von Brandenburg, Kyriaki Costa, Noa Eshkol, Andreas Exner, Uli Fischer, Zille Homma Hamid, Heide Hinrichs, Olaf Holzapfel, Christa Jeitner, Elisa van Joolen & Vincent Vulsma, Kyriaki Costa, Eva Meyer & Eran Schaerf, Karen Michelsen Castañón, Judith Raum, Franz Erhard Walther and the Bauhaus Space


Inka Gressel, Director of the ifa-Galerie Berlin
Susanne Weiß, freelance curator, art mediator, and lecturer at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle
Helene Black, Yiannis Colakides, founder of the NeMe Arts Centre, Limassol

Exhibitions worldwide

With over 20 touring exhibitions currently travelling across the globe and with its diverse event programmes on contemporary art, the ifa links the German art scene with internationally active cultural creators and forms cooperations and networks. The projects, many of which were developed in co-creation with local partners, cover the various disciplines of modern and contemporary fine arts – from current themes in architecture, photography and design to Bauhaus and monographic exhibitions such as Rosemarie Trockel or Wolfgang Tillmans. These projects generate local meeting platforms and allow international perspectives on topics of global relevance. The ifa also provides loan exhibits to interested museums.

Find out more


Overview exhibitions worldwide (PDF)

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