Interviews with Vulpes Vulpes’ Laurie Storey, Carla Wright, Anna Chrystal Stephens and Hadiru Mahdi (Co-directors)

Published Oct, 2015

Laurie Storey, Carla Wright, Anna Chrystal Stephens and Hadiru Mahdi. Image courtesy of the gallery.

How did the name Vulpes Vulpes come about?

Originally Vulpes Vulpes was the name we gave the first building we used. Before we moved in, there were foxes living in the warehouse, so in a way we took over their home, Vulpes Vulpes is the Latin name for the common fox, we like the sound of the words and the nod to our predecessors.

What do you need to set up a gallery like Vulpes Vulpes?

The resources needed to set up a gallery or project space depend on the nature of the project. The most important things needed according to our experience are people; a team of willing participants and time; if you can find time, you can find a way to work around very limited resources, we used a lot of found, recycled and donated materials.

What does Vulpes Vulpes offer that’s different?

Artist-led galleries offer a space for artists to experiment with ideas without commercial pressures to sell artwork. The directors/organisers are artists so there is a genuine understanding of what would benefit other artists involved. The project is shared and run collectively and focuses on a non-hierarchical way of working.

How do you select artists for exhibitions?

We visit other galleries, follow artists online, go to degree shows etc. Every two years we hold an open call and keep applicants on file.

What’s the average time between finding an artist you like and them having a show presented at the gallery?

There’s no hard and fast rule as the process can vary from project to project. When developing ideas and concepts for shows we will bring up artists we think do or could make relevant artwork and which grouping would be a good combination, whether they complement each other or create a tension. We would contact them at this stage to gauge their interest and availability (sometimes logistics govern choices…). Other times an artists’ work is what inspires a project. We work quite quickly so often it is a matter of months. But even if we find ourselves contacting an artist close to the time of the show, more often than not they are already known to us. We have artists ‘on file’ from previous projects, open call submissions and university shows who may be perfect pick now or in a year’s time.

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