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Exhibition of German artworks from the ifa Collection, 1949 to the present opens at ZKM
Art of Sibylle Bergemann in the exhibition “Travellinf the World Art from Germany.. Artworks from the ifa Collection 1949 to the Present“ ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art© ZKM | Karlsruhe 2013. Photo: ONUK.

KARLSRUHE.- Under the patronage of the Federal President, ifa (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations) presents the exhibition Travelling the World. Drawing on the outstanding ifa inventory of contemporary art, curators Matthias Flügge and Matthias Winzen have elaborated an overview tracing the most important developments 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, Strawalde, 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 contemporary 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.

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