Bernd und Hilla Becher
Anna and Bernhard Blume
Else (Twin) Gabriel
Karl Otto Götz
Nam June Paik
A. R. Penck
Gundula Schulze Eldowy
Franz Erhard Walther
Art from Germany. Artworks from the ifa Collection, 1949 to the Present. Over 400 works of art by more than 100 artists represent the diverse range of approaches from East and West. As many artistic parallels and underground relations reveal, the actual development of art does not unfold according to the model of political history. Thus, the history of photography from the ifa collection since the 1950s can be succinctly represented. The East-West comparison shows that East German photography was the most independent visual genre within the centralist system.
curated by Matthias Flügge and Matthias Winzen
Under the patronage of the Federal President, ifa (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations) presents the exhibition Travelling the World, sched- uled to begin on October 26, 2013. Drawing on the outstanding ifa in- ventory of contemporary art, curators Matthias Flügge and Matthias Winzen have elaborated an overview tracing the most important devel- opments in art since 1949.
Over 400 works of art by more than 100 artists represent the diverse range of approaches from East and West, among which are those by Joseph Beuys, Sibylle Bergemann, Chargesheimer, Carlfriedrich Claus, Hanne Darboven, Arno Fischer, Katharina Fritsch, Hermann Glöckner, Andreas Gursky, Georg Herold, Rebecca Horn, Jürgen Klauke, Helga Paris, Peter Piller, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Thomas Ruff, Strawal- de, Günther Uecker and Corinne Wasmuht. The curators wish to honor “an internationally very successful, though barely known constituent stock of art within Germany – a kind of intellectual and artistic provision throughout the decades.”
The ifa art collection has undergone a unique development. Solo and group exhibitions were conceived and compiled for the worldwide presentation of German art abroad – before going on tour. By way of an open collecting concept, the works were selected for the ifa worldwide exhibition tour by especially commissioned curators. The proximity of the various experts to the artists ensured the perceptive and pluralist reflection of artistic developments. This proximity explains why, today, the process-oriented practices of the Fluxus movement, difficult to place within the confines of the museum, constitute one of the focal points of the ifa inventory. Similarly, feminist art since the 1970s and the contem- porary self-evident significance of female artists for the world of art, is also to be documented.
After the fall of the Berlin wall, parts of the inventory of the Zentrum für Kunstausstellungen der DDR [Center for Art Exhibitions of the GDR] were absorbed into the ifa collection. The presentation of works of art from East and West, complied for the first time in such density, breaks with the artistically unproductive FRG-GDR scheme. As many artistic parallels and underground relations reveal, the actual development of art does not unfold according to the model of political history. Thus, the history of photography from the ifa collection since the 1950s can be succinctly represented. The East-West comparison shows that East German photography was the most independent visual genre within the centralist system.
A catalog is currently being prepared for publication. Ifa will subsequent- ly present the exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, Moscow.
Connecting cultures: ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen)
With more than fifty touring exhibitions around the world and at the ifa Galleries in Stuttgart and Berlin, which in 2011 celebrated their fortieth and twentieth anniversaries respectively, the ifa – Institut für Auslandsbezie- hungen, an institute for international cultural relations is the leading Ger- man institution for international cultural exchange. ifa promotes intercultur- al discussion and artistic discourse. ifa is a cooperation partner of the Ger- man Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, promotes the German contributions to many other biennales and, on average, supports 60 young German artists each year in presenting their work abroad. In addition, it operates worldwi- de to promote dialogue between civil societies and to provide information about German foreign cultural policy. Founded in 1917, ifa is the oldest German institution for foreign cultural policy. It is funded by the German Foreign Office, the State of Baden-Württemberg and the City of Stuttgart. Art is the lingua franca of international dialogue that ifa supports through exhibitions at more than 250 venues around the world and at its galleries in Berlin and Stuttgart each year. ifa enables art to cross boundaries with pro- grammes aiming to strengthen civil society in developing and transition countries. Thus, more than one million visitors experience international art and art discourse from Germany each year. In addition, ifa’s galleries in Stuttgart and Berlin provide a forum for contemporary art from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe.
A wide range of touring exhibitions is devised in cooperation with ifa’s cu- rators. Monographic and thematic exhibitions showcase German twentieth and twenty-first century visual art, photography, film, architecture and de- sign. Workshops accompanying the exhibitions and fringe programmes which are drawn up in cooperation with ifa support intercultural dialogue. ifa aims to create a space for artists, intellectuals and civil society to deve- lop new ideas. Networking is a key element here; the aim being to establish a base of institutional, thematic and project-related networks which are independent from national or institutional structures. One prime example of a meeting platform for artists is "prêt-à-partager", an open format for art, design and photography by German and African artists. The Project has created new connections between eight African cities and Germany. Alongside real world encounters in international art exchange ifa hosts two online platforms which serve as information portals and also offer virtual exhibition rooms. Contemporary and (C&) (http://www.contemporaryand.com) is an international online platform for diverse and critical insights into, and perspectives on, contemporary African art. Nafas (http://universes-in-universe.org/eng/nafas) is a unique magazine dedicated to contemporary art in Islamic countries. For ten years now the site has been reaching a broad international audience. With information on artists and exhibition reviews Nafas serves as an important educational resource on contemporary art in the Islamic world.
Media contact ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen)
Miriam Kahrmann, Head of Communications, Charlottenplatz 17, 70173
Stuttgart, Germany, 0049-(0)711-2225-105, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.ifa.de
Artists of the exhibition “TRAVELLING THE WORLD”
Gerhard Altenbourg, Dieter Appelt, Willi Baumeister, Thomas Bayrle, Marc Brandenburg, Bernd und Hilla Becher, Sibylle Bergemann, Joseph Beuys, Anna and Bernhard Blume, Christian Borchert, Manfred Butzmann, Carlfrie- drich Claus, Chargesheimer, Hanne Darboven, Achim Duchow, Hartwig Ebersbach, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Arno Fischer, Thomas Florschuetz, Gün- ther Förg, Katharina Fritsch, Günter Fruhtrunk, Else (Twin) Gabriel, Rup- precht Geiger, André Gelpke, Isa Genzken, Jochen Gerz, Walter Giers, Her- mann Glöckner, Karl Otto Götz, Gotthard Graubner, HAP Grieshaber, Asta Gröting, Andreas Gursky, Georg Herold, Katharina Hinsberg, Hannah Höch, Matthias Hoch, Candida Höfer, Martin Honert, Rebecca Horn, Magdalena Jetelová, Dieter Kiessling, Jürgen Klauke, Barbara Klemm, Fritz Klemm, Imi Knoebel, Herlinde Koelbl, Wilmar Koenig, Arthur Køpcke, Norbert Kricke, Mark Lammert, Walter Libuda, Markus Lüpertz, Adolf Luther, Heinz Mack, Ewald Mataré, Wolfgang Mattheuer, Olaf Metzel, Christiane Möbus, Mi- chael Morgner, Reinhard Mucha, Marcel Odenbach, Nam June Paik, Helga Paris, A. R. Penck, Wolfgang Petrick, Otto Piene, Peter Piller, Hermann Pitz, Sigmar Polke, Robert Rehfeldt, Gerhard Richter, Klaus Rinke, Julian Röder, Ulrike Rosenbach, Dieter Roth, Thomas Ruff, Reiner Ruthenbeck, Karin Sander, Jörg Sasse, Michael Schmidt, Bernard Schultze, Gundula Schulze Eldowy, Emil Schumacher, Thomas Schütte, Wiebke Siem, Katharina Sieverding, Klaus Staeck, Otto Steinert, Strawalde, Thomas Struth, Frank Thiel, Fred Thieler, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rosemarie Trockel, Günther Uecker, Max Uhlig, Hans Uhlmann, Jorinde Voigt, Wolf Vostell, Franz Erhard Wal- ther, Corinne Wasmuht, Trak Wendisch, Fritz Winter, Wols, Ulrich Wüst
Curators: Matthias Flügge and Matthias Winzen
When invited by Elke aus dem Moore to inspect and curatorially arrange the ifa art inventory, it soon became evident that this collection of art, which had evolved within Germany over the course of sixty years, con- tained works and provided insights to which it would have been virtually impossible to do justice by way of conventional models of presentation. The goal was to focus on an international, highly successful, though within Germany barely known constituent stock of works, and to present these as a kind of intellectual and artistic provision through the decades. We have attempted to trace a specific, not yet exhibited illustration of art history since the late 1940s within Germany. Our goal was not to reproduce the mainstream, nor one or the other form of objectivity. Our approach is based on the history of reception. The discourse, which has changed over time, the various debates relating to art, its representative function – in both sense of the word – and the different dispositions in the formation of crite- ria constitute the defining themes of the project. Around 23.000 works by circa 2.000 artists were viewed by February 2012; approximately 400 works by 111 authors were selected. Our aim with the exhibition is to initiate an open discourse that extends beyond the confines of professional circles and which, alongside the widely accepted “main currents”, also traces the many “tributaries”. Sketches and drafts by key artists comprise part of the inventory no less than do those chief works by the latter which are worth rediscovery.
The contemporary orientation of curators working for ifa has impacted up- on the inventory in a special way. Thus, individual “viewpoints”, meet with what, from contemporary perspectives, are clearly recognizable develop- ments. In other words, concurrent to art history within Germany, the exhibi- tion writes a history of what it considers representative selection criteria – by way of a view to representative exhibition practices abroad. Thus, a re- construction of recent art history emerges as the history of reception and of path-breaking influences.
The interest of each of the many, distinctively different, ifa exhibition pro- jects has always focused on current work. This consisted in the perceptive response to that which proved relevant in the most recent past. Without the monologic definition of a cultural political objective, the ifa projects have proved themselves as decentralized, pluralist reflection of artistic develop- ments. Museum people and theorists, such as Gudrun Inboden, Ursula Zeller, Dieter Honisch, Götz Adriani, Wulf Herzogenrath, Tilman Osterwold, René Block, Thomas Weski et al., have taken responsibility for the ifa exhi- bitions. They were in no sense obligated to follow the prescriptions of for- eign policy, but rather drew exclusively on their own knowledge and criteria with which they endeavored to focus on those points in which advances were made in the world of art.
Accordingly, this bundle of art works thus compiled cannot be seen as a collection based on specifically determined criteria. We therefore refer to “inventories”, the significance of which was ultimately measured such that these criteria were transformed along with art itself. Substantial insights thus emerged for art history.
What becomes clear, for example, is the way in which video and video sculpture began to attract an increasing amount of attention; how photog- raphy since the 1950s evolved into an autonomous pictorial art, and the extent to which it nevertheless stands in a reciprocal relationship to other artistic practices and so reflects the permanent coupling of the art world, and of social, as well as political themes.
The way in which the role of female artists became increasingly important in conjunction with social developments since the 1970s, has likewise been very well traced. Consequently, works by Ulrike Rosenbach, Rebecca Horn, Christiane Möbus, Katharina Fritsch, Rosemarie Trockel among others, were purchased for the exhibitions, and thus feminist themes in art since the 1970s were documented as were the meanwhile increasingly self- evident significance of female artists for the world of art.
One important aspect of the selection was also the curators’ personal connections to the artists themselves, most of whom were of the same generation, or were else in command of an outstanding knowledge of the latter’s works. This proximity to the artists also ensured that today, following en- tirely successful touring exhibitions, the process-oriented practices of the Fluxus movement – difficult to work with in the museum context and more resistant to the collection – constitutes the impressive focal point of the ifa inventory.
Above all, on closer inspection of the inventory it very quickly becomes evident that this representation of art from Germany is the first to have bro- ken with the artistic unproductive GFR-GDR scheme. Whereas the devel- opment of art in the GDR was considered as a special case of a hermitically sealed exclave, and continues to be researched and exhibited as such with considerable effort, what emerges here for the first time is the possibility for a new narrative of German art histories running concurrently over a pe- riod of four decades. It shows that the actual development of art is not based on the stipulations of political history. In East Berlin and Cologne, in Annaberg and Oberkassel, in Dresden and in Munich, themes and tech- niques began emerging from the process of artistic work itself, which, in turn, reveal several parallels and underground relations. By way of contrast, we attempt to make this visible by comparing Gerhard Altenbourg, Bern- hard Schultze and the drawings by Beuys, Hermann Glöckner and Hans Uhlmann, Arno Fischer and Chargesheimer, Christian Borchert, Sibylle Bergemann and Barbara Klemm, Manfred Butzmann and Klaus Staeck, or in younger generations, in the work of Julian Röder and Wolfgang Tillmans. Here, alongside time-specific connections, substantial differences are laid bare, which are not leveled out but rather presented in clear detail.
The ifa art inventory comprises both the collection that has been continually growing over the years, as well as parts of the art inventory of the Zentrum für Kunstausstellungen der DDR. Both institutions were brought together under one roof at the beginning of 1991. The federal art system of the Fed- eral Republic met with its GDR centralist counterpart. Thus, the ifa invento- ry has been augmented by a bundle of East German art and photography. After 1990, the inventory of art from the GDR was substantially enriched by way of a retrospective exhibition (Gerhard Altenbourg, Carlfriedrich Claus, Hermann Glöckner et al.), as well as by recent acquisitions (Sibylle Berge- mann, Arno Fischer, Strawalde et al.). Here, the ifa curators have paid spe- cial attention to East German photography. It has proved itself once again by way of the inventory as the most independent visual genre within the centralist system.
The unique quality of the exhibition consists in the large portion of works on paper, by Hannah Höch, Norbert Kricke or Sigmar Polke through to Jorinde Voigt or Marc Brandenburg. This facilitates a narrative, which treats unknown and often astonishing exhibits.
At the same time, the various art genres are integrated; painting, drawing, graphics prints, photography and sculpture are considered on one level, which had hitherto barely been the case in ifa exhibition practice. Here, above all in group exhibitions, the single artistic media were presented sep- arately.
For the most part, the exhibition is chronologically structured, and works within this chronology with remarkably illuminating confrontations between different languages – both in East-West comparison as well as in encoun- tering contradictions. In the connected thematic fields, “cluster” focal points are attributed special emphasis (post war art between realism and abstraction, Pop Art, Fluxus, socially oriented author photography, the Bechers and their school etc.).
Image: Wolfgang Tillmann: „Susan and Lutz“ (for „i.-D.“), 1992
© Wolfgang Tillmanns and courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Köln
Press Contact of the ifa
Kristina Helena Pavićević
Tel: 040 / 51 90 59 20
ifa – Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations
Tel: 0711 / 2225 – 105
Head of Department Press and
Tel: 0721 / 8100 – 1220
Assistant Press and Public Relations
Tel: 0721 / 8100 – 1821
Press Conference: Thurs., October 24, 2013, 11 a.m.,
Opening: Fri., October 25, 2013, 7 p.m.,
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