Our collection has seen the world.

The ifa agora is the central platform for the network, collection and archive of ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) in the field of art. It is a place of transcultural exchange – just as the agora in ancient Greece was a city’s most important meeting place and marketplace. It shows ifa’s relationships and brings them together online.

Ifa has a unique collection of 23,000 works of contemporary art from the 20th and 21st centuries – all significant works of their time. Around half of the works were acquired for the ifa exhibitions, which have been touring the world for more than 50 years; the other half come from the collection of the GDR Centre for Art Exhibitions (ZfK), which was transferred to ifa in 1991. Exhibits are currently on display in 25 exhibitions around the world.

The ifa agora provides detailed information on works, artists and the corresponding ifa exhibitions. All content is connected: with every new artwork that is made available in digital form and examined in its context, the agora changes and so too do the research possibilities it offers. Over time, the agora will provide an ever greater insight into the works that have emerged from touring exhibition runs and exhibition collaborations around the world since 1971, and that have been bought or borrowed for such exhibitions. The ifa agora will gradually be able to relate a more than 50-year history of international art and cultural relations from different perspectives. One of the stories – or histories – will be that of the artistic representation of the Federal Republic of Germany and of the German Democratic Republic.

We are currently in the process of making the agora visible and accessible. The launch of the agora in April 2022 will see the publication of an initial selection of touring exhibitions, with fascinating information on content, project partners and travel routes. For the first time, a major part of the collection will be displayed in the digital space. As the agora grows, various touring exhibitions past and present and ifa work in the art sector will gradually go online – from exhibitions at the two ifa galleries in Berlin and Stuttgart and works at the German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale to the exhibition projects that ifa supports around the world. In short, the agora will offer snapshots of artistic and curatorial processes and access to a wealth of ifa knowledge and experience in global artistic communication and exchange.

Otto Dix in Minsk (2007), Wolfgang Tillmans in Kinshasa (2018) and Abidjan (2022), Hannah Höch at 111 locations worldwide from 1985 to 2016, Rosemarie Trockel in Prague (2003) and Montevideo (2007) and representing Germany at the Venice Biennale (1999), Noa Eshkol in Beersheba (2019), Joseph Beuys in Kyiv and Cape Town (1999), Nasan Tur in Riyadh (2022)… our collection has seen the world.

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Dortmund 1996