Curators Inka Gressel and Susanne Weiß will give a joint tour of the exhibition Spheres of Interest*.

How did the art collection of the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa) come to be? Which works were acquired when and by whom, and what can these decisions tell us about the socio-political conditions, trends, and protagonists of the time? How can we partake in and reconfigure collections like these from today’s perspective?

The historic idiosyncrasies and structures of the ifa art collection, and its composition specifically via the partial preservation of the collection that once belonged to the German Democratic Republic’s (GDR) Zentrum für Kunstausstellungen all become opportunities for a collaborative artistic-curatorial investigation. Isaac Chong Wai, Lizza May David, Wilhelm Klotzek, Ofri Lapid, Adrien Missika and Gitte Villesen interrogate the collection based on their own “Spheres of Interest”, searching for overlaps, parallels, and omissions. The exhibition title references the eponymous artwork by Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, a pioneer of the GDR’s Mail Art movement, who – unlike her husband Robert Rehfeldt – was not represented in the collection until now.

The exhibition shows these artistic examinations together with the works from the ifa collection. Some works have hardly been exhibited at all, remaining packed in their yellow ifa transportation crates until recently, while others are returning home from long exhibition tours with countless stops, and still others have only just been restored. Such are the varied paths these works have travelled to come together now at the ifa-Galerie Berlin.