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Commissioners of the German Pavilion

Federal Foreign Office | Institute of Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa)

Role of the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany

The German Pavilion in the grounds of the Venice Biennial (Giardini Pubblici) is the property of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The commissioner for the German contribution to the Visual Arts Biennial is the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany (

On the suggestion of an advisory committee, which has renowned Museum Directors and art experts as members, the Federal Foreign Office appoints a curator (formerly: commissioner) who is responsible for the selection of the artists and the organisation of the contribution. This appointment is usually for two years in succession.

At the Venice Biennial, Germany has traditionally been represented by its own pavilion commissioned and co-funded by the Federal Foreign Office. The Federal Foreign Office is keen to help foster a lively and creative arts scene in Germany as well as cultural exchange throughout the world. Such efforts are part and parcel of its cultural relations and education activities, which for many decades have been considered a key dimension of its foreign policy.

The Venice Biennial is not just a mecca for art-lovers everywhere but also an important forum for international exchange that attracts people from all over the world. This year Germany is once again represented at the Biennale with a Pavilion.

For the Federal Foreign Office, cultural engagement is a well-established tradition; we have long seen fostering lively cultural contacts as an important part of Germany's foreign policy. The activities in this field are geared to a number of objectives. First and foremost to help people all over the world to discover Germany for themselves rather than relying on clichés and preconceptions. By the same token, Germany’s own culture and education will benefit as well if people are convinced abroad, for example, that Germany is an attractive place to study. At the European Union level it is hoped that activities in this field will increasingly help forge a common identity among citizens of the EU's 27 member states. To realize these objectives, the Federal Foreign Office and its embassies abroad work with a number of highly competent partners. The main organizations active in this field are the Goethe Institute, the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst - DAAD), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations. The management of 117 German schools abroad is aided by a special body set up for this purpose, the Central Agency for Schools Abroad. Working together, these institutions have achieved some impressive results. Across the world from Sao Paolo to Kabul some 70,000 young people a year attend German schools abroad. An estimated 150,000 people annually attend the Goethe Institute's German courses. Currently some 30,000 young foreigners per year are studying at German universities on DAAD scholarships. These figures also mean a host of personal ties with Germany and its people, ties from which both sides have much to gain. Learning to understand how a foreign artist or researcher perceives the world enables Germans to acquire new insights. In particular, the productive and stimulating exchanges that take place at the Venice Biennale forge enduring ties with the wider world. For German foreign policy as a whole, such ties are clearly a tremendous asset.


Institute of Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa)

The exhibitions in the German Pavilion are realised in association with the German Institute of Foreign Cultural Relations (, Stuttgart.

The Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations) is an organization operating worldwide to promote artistic exchange and dialogue between civil societies and to provide information about foreign cultural policy. The ifa is funded by the German Foreign Office, the State of Baden-Württemberg and the City of Stuttgart. It is also active in a wide variety of projects in cooperation with foundations and other partner organisations both nationally and internationally.

As the leading German institution for international cultural exchange, ifa devises and organizes German contemporary art exhibitions worldwide. Thus it activates intercultural discussions and discourse in contemporary art. ifa funds artists' exhibition projects and awards scholarships; the ifa galleries in Stuttgart and Berlin feature contemporary art, architecture and design from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

Contact: Elke aus dem Moore, Leiterin Abteilung Kunst

© Deutscher Pavillon 2009

Liam Gillick Standbild Video