The ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen [Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations]) shows the exhibition Travelling the World. Art from Germany. Artworks from the ifa Collection, 1949 to the Present, at ZKM | Center for Art and Media from October 26, 2013. Drawing on the impressive collection of contemporary art from the ifa, curators Matthias Flügge and Matthias Winzen have compiled an overview that traces artistic key developments in Germany since 1949, and present 400 works of art by over 100 artists.
The ifa collection has undergone a unique formation. Beyond the limits of a binding collecting concept, the works were selected for the ifa’s worldwide exhibition tours by the respectively commissioned curators. The proximity of these very different experts to the artists effectuated a presence of mind and pluralist awareness that ever since mark the collection’s representation of artistic events. This proximity explains why the process-oriented practices of the Fluxus movement that are so difficult to present within a museum context today constitute the emphasis of the ifa collection. In a similar manner, feminist art is documented since the 1970s as is the self-evident significance of female artists for the art scene.
The presentation of works of art from East and West Germany, brought together for the first time in such density, breaks with the artistically ineffective FRG-GDR-schism. The actual development of art does not conform to the model of political history, as many artistic parallels and underlying relations have revealed. The history of photography since the 1950s can be succinctly presented from the ifa collection. What the East-West opposition has exposed is that East German photography was the most independent visual genre within the centralist system.
Matthias Flügge and Matthias Winzen seek to honor "an internationally very successful, though within Germany barely acknowledged foundation – a kind of intellectual and artistic provisions throughout the decades."