Vulpes Vulpes made an installation using borrowed and donated plants from the residents of St Gilles, Brussels. Expeditions were also made to salvage plants from brownfield sites.
The project is inspired by Physic and Botanical gardens which emerged in medieval times; these are collections of plants and herbs with medicinal properties, closely linked to the society that created them. In the 1980s, the revival of this kind of specialised garden coincided with the emergence of the conservation movement, becoming once again culturally significant. This particular garden is a way to explore debates around community and cultural preservation, especially in places of demographic transition.
The garden in the main gallery space contains a central sculpture which was built collectively, the plants organised primarily around parameters set by their survival needs, but secondarily around the aesthetic, sentimental and sculptural qualities of the plants. This collaborative method of construction reflects Vulpes Vulpes artists shared interest in the built and social environment.
The installation in the back gallery space occupies a number of forms, at once a gardeners hut, a fieldwork base, and an artists workshop with tools and technical information needed to maintain the garden and tend to the plants; some findings from the fieldwork carried out by the artist; their modes of ordering and methodological meditations.
Taking as a starting point taxonomic and ecological categorisation systems, factors ranging from horticultural necessity to anecdotes and experience have been used as organisational strategies for the lay out of this garden. The choice of display also leads us to question how such objects can represent work.
Carla Wright, Anna Chrystal Stephens, Hadiru Mahdi, Laurie Storey