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Institute for Foreign Relations (ifa)

The Institute for Foreign Relations (ifa) is the most important German institutional partner of the Goethe-Institut for worldwide presentation of art from Germany.


  • HAN Ausstellung ifa 1 © Goethe-Institut Hanoi
  • HAN Ausstellung ifa 2 © Goethe-Institut Hanoi
  • HAN Ausstellung ifa 3 © Goethe-Institut Hanoi
  • HAN Ausstellung ifa 4 © Goethe-Institut Hanoi
  • HAN Ausstellung ifa 5 © Goethe-Institut Hanoi
The importance of ifa can also be seen in the fact that ifa has been positioning the German Pavilion at the Biennale Arte in Venice since 1971 on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office.

ifa curates and realises exhibitions focusing on the fine arts, design, and architecture: from the history of the Bauhaus to contemporary photography, from artworks examining conditions in postcolonial societies to works providing an up-to-date glimpse of the potential of upcycling. Such exhibitions contain original works of art, are extensive, and cause high transport costs. Catalogs translated into the respective national languages accompany these representative museum exhibitions. At the opening, a curator is present to train the staff and explain the exhibition. These traveling exhibitions with originals conceives from the idea of sharing education and art with the world - in the ecological sense of efficient and nature-friendly cultural mediation.

ifa introduced exhibitions of renowned artists of the 20th century to Hanoi: Dada artist Hannah Höch (1998), Günther Uecker (2000, 2004), Paula Modersohn-Becker (2004), Georg Baselitz (2004), Wolfgang Laib (2004), Gerhard Richter (2004), Sigmar Polke (2006), Barbara Klemm (2018). The group exhibitions QUOBO Art in Germany 1989-1999 (2003), KUNSTRAUM DEUTSCHLAND (2008), the exhibition on innovative architecture ECOLOGY DESIGN SYNERGY (2009) and PURE GOLD (2019) on design from recycled material provided an overview of recent international trends.

It is not possible to bring all the wonderful and informative exhibitions that ifa offers to Vietnam. One explanation is that, in contrast to the international practice of cultural exchange, state or municipal galleries do not contribute to the local costs of an exhibition, but actually bill invoices for their exhibition spaces. And nothing is more frustrating than the censorship, as was just recently the case with Marcel Odenbach's exhibition TRANQUIL MOTIONS (2020), which was completely forbidden.

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