In the design exhibition Pure Gold – Upcycled! Upgraded! ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), the German institute for international and cultural relations, presents the internationally debated theme of upcycling.

Pure Gold – Upcycled! Upgraded! opens in the year that marks the hundredth anniversary of ifa. ifa was founded in 1917 during the First World War, and its history is embedded in the history of Germany, shaped so strongly by events and disasters in the twentieth century. When touring exhibitions were begun in the 1950s, the aim was to present contemporary German artists to international audiences. The perspective has now shifted and ifa’s mission today is to place works within the local contexts of our partners and to reflect on these new constellations.

ifa is committed to the peaceful and enriching coexistence between people and cultures worldwide. We promote art and cultural exchange in exhibitions, dialogue and conference programmes. As a competence centre for international cultural relations, ifa connects civil societies, cultural practices, art, media and science. We initiate, moderate and document discussions on international cultural relations. 

The ifa has a global network and counts on long-term cooperation. It is supported by the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, the state of Baden-Württemberg and its capital Stuttgart.

We place this issue within a framework defined by ethical behaviours, responsibility, internationalization and joint creation, and we take the discussion to questions of added value and appreciation in different contexts. Here, Europe is not the focus from where the periphery is defined. Instead, this exhibition identifies various centres and points of common interest.




We warmly thank all the eight curators who have so expertly put this ambitious exhibition plan into practice and have also written contributions for the catalogue. We also thank Volker Albus for his generous loans to the exhibition, and the designers who have given objects to ifa as gifts: 56thStudio/ Saran Yen Panya, Fernando Brízio and Wei Minghui.

We thank studio Lapatsch|Unger for the development of the Instructable concept and trailer, holding the workshops together with Axel Kufus at every location of the touring exhibition, taking care of Instagram and Twitter and for the post-production and editing of the Instructables and the participants of all of the workshops.

We thank the studio burningbluesoul for the website concept, design and maintenance, Luxoom Medienprojekte GmbH for the interactive presentation, Jochen Saueracker for technical support, the graphic design studio Heine/Lenz/Zizka for their excellent work in creating the right exhibition logo and catalogue design, and we thank photographer Frank Kleinbach. We would also like to thank Greg Bond, Dominik Fehrmann and Ana Ban for their outstanding translation and editing.

We thank the Goethe-Institut in Cairo and Johannesburg for recommendations during the project research phase. We also thank the publishers Spector Books for excellent cooperation and commitment. We are very grateful to Sabine Schulze and to the team at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg MKG for making the German premiere of the exhibition possible, and also to Maren Niemeyer and Goethe-Institut Bangkok for staging the premiere at the Thailand Creative and Design Center TCDC in Bangkok. We would also like to thank the German Foreign Office for supporting the exhibition.