ON PLINY’S PATHS is an artists’ exchange program between the cities of Cologne and Tunis that was initiated by Cologne-based artist Gudrun Barenbrock and developed in cooperation with the Twin City Association Köln — Tunis.

Jointly with the Tunis-based curatorial tandem Aymen Gharbi and Bettina Pelz the program was developed and implemented from May to October 2023. It enabled artists from Cologne and Tunis to travel to the other city and explore the local art scenes, to discuss the state of the art with artists from the twinned cities, to implement artistic projects and to develop new project ideas. The focus of the exchange is the joint discussion about art, nature, and the environment.

Pliny the Elder served as an inspiration for the artists due to his pioneering exploratory journeys that were accompanied by the innate human desire to explore, learn, and express. The wealth of information offered a unique perspective that nurtured the discussion. Furthermore, Pliny’s multidisciplinary approach in “Naturalis Historia,” covering not only natural sciences but also geography, medicine, and art, encouraged the artists to explore interdisciplinary themes in their work. Pliny the Elder’s adventurous spirit, meticulous observations, and comprehensive exploration of diverse subjects in his writings served as a wellspring of inspiration, sparking curiosity and fostering a deeper connection to the rich tapestry of their respective histories and environments.

MAY — AUG 2023 Onsite and online

Artists and curators were meeting in various constellations to exchange, and to develop and plan the joint program. At the same time, they coordinated and consolidated the small network of partners including the City of Cologne and the City of Tunis, the Universities, and twin city organizations.

20 AUG — 3 SEP 2023 Tunis

The Cologne-based artists Gudrun Barenbrock, Jazmin Rojas Forero, and Juan Francisco Rodriguez stayed in the INTERFERENCE RESIDENCY and in DAR MESO in the Medina of Tunis. The Tunis-based artists Dorra Hichri, Rima Khraief, and Wafa Lazhari joint the program.

PUBLIC LAB. Photos: Gudrun Barenbrock, GPS, Fadhel Mayel.

22 — 28 AUG 2023 Tunis

All participating artists joined the PUBLIC LAB that encompassed lectures, debates, and workshops on the present water challenges, a collective artistic experimentation titled THE WATER LILLIES PROJECT, and an exhibition project titled WATER MATTERS.

Juan Francisco Rodriguez and Jazmin Rojas Forero contributed with an inspiring presentation of Latin American artists and artists’ collectives that feature the water challenges in their approach.

PUBLIC LAB. Photos: Ouafa Benamor, Fadhel Mayel.

29 — 30 AUG 2023 Tunis

Gudrun Barenbrock, and Juan Francisco Rodriguez, Dorra Hichri, Rima Khraief, and Wafa Lazhari contributed to the collective experimentation exploring the interplay of light and water in Palais Kheireddine.

With Dorra Hichri, Rima Khraief, Juan Francisco Rodriguez, Wafa Lazhari a.o. Photos: Ouafa Benamor, Fadhel Mayel.

31 AUG — 2 SEP 2023 Tunis
WATER MATTERS Exhibition Project

For the exhibition project national and international artists presented new light and light-based-media artworks in Palais Khreireddine (City’s Museum) and Dar Ben Achour (City’s History Museum) in the Medina of Tunis.

With Gudrun Barenbrock, Dorra Hichri, Rima Khraief, Wafa Lazhari, Juan Francisco Rodriguez, Jazmin Rojas Forero. Photos: Gudrun Barenbrock, Ouafa Benamor, Fadhel Mayel.

5 — 15 OCT 2023 Cologne

The Tunisian artists and curators settled in the Artists’ Studio House in the southern part of Cologne (Atelierhaus Alteburger Wall 1). Apart from some sightseeing visits, the program included artists’ meetings, a visit to the Media Art University (KHM), an info session with the Association of Artists’ Professionals (BBK), a gallery visit, and a talk with the gallerist Kirsten Floss. In addition, there was a gathering with the Twin City Association Cologne-Tunis.

ARTISTS’ RESIDENCY. Photos: Gudrun Barenbrock, Ouafa Benamor, GPS.

11 — 13 OCT 2023

For the exhibition project in Cologne joined Friedrich Boell, due to his cooperation with INTERFERENCE in the recent years, and Cologne-based Karin Hochstaetter as a guest.
With a hive mind, all participating artists and curators developed a site-specific exhibition program adapting to the site as well as the artworks of one another.

The three-day exhibition generated a lot of attention and a steady flow of visitors due to the shared communication effort via the networks of the experienced artists, the KHM newsletter, the Twin City Association Cologne — Tunis newsletter, and the social media activities of INTERFERENCE.

With Gudrun Barenbock, Friedrich Boell, Dorra Hichri, Karin Hochstaetter, Rima Khraief, Wafa Lazhari, Juan Francisco Rodriguez, Jazmin Rojas Forero. Photos: Gudrun Barenbrock, Ouafa Benamor, Fadhel Mayel.


Gudrun Barenbrock (Cologne)
Aymen Gharbi / Bettina Pelz (Tunis)




ON PLINY’SPATHS Poster. Design: Gudrun Barenbrock.


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