ifa laboratory launch




A new economic and diplomatic perspective
art as a method


Project figures: Johanna Suo, Alexis Kouzmine-Karavaïeff and David Laurier

ifa gallery no longer requires presentation. Its founder, Alexis Kouzmine-Karavaïeff, a key figure within the contemporary art scene in Shanghai since 2006, opened the second ifa gallery in the Marolles district in Brussels in December 2013. The gallery is notable for its intense exhibition programme. It presents mostly reputed artists discovered by Alexis in China but also his recent European and Asian encounters. The eclecticism of his gallery stems from the cultural diversity of his artists, as well as the variety of mediums they work in.

Located not far from ifa gallery, Johanna Suo opened in the year 2014 the Galerie TAG bxl, with the aim of making art accessible to a wider audience. She created the association Arts Lab bxl, advocating cultural relations between different nations with a holistic approach. Active in the institutional and associative sectors of the art world for over 15 years, she has been involved in the Think Tank European Cultural Parliament and their Youth Network, the Goethe-Institut, and CUMEDIAE. Specialised in international cultural management, she is an advocate not only of art and culture, but also the importance of their insertion in other sectors of society. This was also a research topic developed by Johanna within the Marshall Memorial Fellowship and German Marshall Fund in 2015 in the USA.

Within a project she launched through the Arts Lab Bxl, Johanna met the entrepreneur David Laurier, managing director of AppliTek with offices in the US, the Middle East and Asia, and specialist in economic diplomacy. David is member of the International Relations commission of the Business Federation of Belgium (VBO-FEB), where he previously participated in a work group to define the fundaments of economic diplomacy for ambassadors of Belgium.

In this small world of pioneers entering the Marolles district, Alexis and Johanna crossed paths and shared their experiences. Convinced by Johanna Suo’s work in Arts Lab Bxl, David Laurier joined them.


ifa laboratory : birth of a pioneering enterprise

Based on their experiences and shared convictions, the trio created ifa laboratory.

Their core principle revolving around a sense that “art for art’s sake” is not enough, ifa laboratory seeks to promote art and creativity through original perspectives. It aims to break down the barriers of the art world and create bridges with other sectors of society, to demonstrate that art can be used to the benefit of different strata of society, whether the simple individual, a neighbourhood, a business, an organisation, a government …

ifa laboratory proposes made-to-measure services to businesses and governments; such as team animation and consolidation, development of an organisation through art, conferences on the impact and the insertion of creative programs in businesses, advice on brand strategy through art, as well as advice in cultural strategy and cultural diplomacy.


First concrete actions of ifa laboratory

A first social action of cultural strategy began in 2016. Under the title “Engaging through Art and Enabling Communities”, it aims to create a link between culturally diverse communities present in the Marolles district. This project, launched in collaboration with the United Arab Emirates embassy, consists in making artistic ateliers for youths from the surrounding neighbourhood. Part of the project will be exhibited in November 2016.

Alongside this action, various projects are already underway, notably in the business sector.

In team motivation, various formulas are offered, ranging from a one-off motivational activity to structured teambuilding or even concentration on organisational skills. ifa laboratory is associated with experts that have worked with high-level companies (Carrefour, ING, DHL, Kenzo).

Finally, ifa laboratory will present artworks in an unconventional way, with interactive and participative pieces. On September 24th, the public will be invited to co-create a work by the Korean artist Camella Da Eun Kim.


Brief presentation of the Leroy Brothers exhibition at ifa gallery

As a sly reference to the work co-created by Camella Da Eun Kim presented by ifa laboratory, ifa gallery presents the exhibition “coding as a social & creative inception” by Belgian artist trio Leroy Brothers.

The exhibition is inspired in the project “Witness Your World”, an online social network launched in 2012, based on a simple principle: art as a witness to society. Created by Leroy Brothers, the platform allows its members from all over the world to freely share their messages and photos.

“Witness your world” is a way of creating an identity within an otherwise uniform world. The works from the project are conceived like instantaneous mirrors of society, in which information of the immediate dominates. Users share their world with the online community, the outcome giving a range of perspectives on our current day world.

The famous quotation of Descartes, “I think, therefore I am”, might we not propose a new version, “I share, therefore I am”?


—> Communiqué de Presse ifa laboratory [PDF-FR]

—> Persbericht ifa laboratory [PDF-DU]

—> Press Release ifa laboratory [PDF-EN]



For further information:

on ifa laboratory:
Johanna Suo – director
+32 479 96 72 00 / johanna@ifa-laboratory.com

on ifa gallery:
Alexis Kouzmine-Karavaïeff  – director
+32 485 71 98 51 / alexis@ifa-gallery.com

press manager:
Nathalie Zalcman
+32 475 79 77 01