CONDO continues to reshape the London Gallery Landscape with its first global collaborative exhibitions in four years. In the high-end art world, where art fairs often dominate the scene, CONDO emerges as a refreshing and innovative initiative, challenging the traditional norms of gallery exhibitions. This year London will present a bumper 50 galleries across 23 London spaces with the exhibitions continuing until 17th February 2024
CONDO is the brainchild of Vanessa Carlos, director of Carlos/Ishikawa in east London; CONDO offers an alternative model, fostering collaboration, experimentation, and communal support among galleries.
The concept behind CONDO is as unique as its name, derived from ‘condominium.’ It unfolds as a large-scale collaborative exhibition involving international galleries. Host galleries generously share their spaces with visiting galleries through co-curated exhibitions or by dividing their galleries to allocate specific spaces. The overarching aim is to encourage the evaluation of existing models, resource pooling, and communal action, creating a more conducive environment for experimental gallery exhibitions on a global scale.
CONDO is committed to a unified model of collaboration and generosity, particularly among young commercial galleries. Visiting international galleries contributes minimal sums to cover basic costs, such as websites and technicians, while host galleries give in kind by providing spaces in London for free. This reciprocal relationship embodies a spirit of mutual support.
The London-wide collaborative exhibition involves 24+ galleries with a broad international scope. London galleries open their doors to several external galleries, showcasing the works of over 40 artists. Art film screenings enrich the experience throughout the first week to complement the visual feast. The project, lasting a month, addresses the economic challenges faced by small project spaces and emerging artists in mega-cities.
Logistically, participating galleries pay a fee to the host gallery, gaining the opportunity to showcase their works and retaining all proceeds from sales. This sustainable business model benefits everyone involved. The financial advantages and the potential to broaden collector bases are enticing for young commercial spaces. Artists, in turn, appreciate CONDO for its potential to enhance social mobility and extend audience and client networks.
CONDO has risen to prominence against the backdrop of a proliferation of art fairs and a decline in mid-tier galleries. Notably, it challenges the drop in foot traffic to galleries, aiming to rekindle the engagement of art enthusiasts. While some may view CONDO as a revival of the gallery hopping experience akin to a metro art week, it distinguishes itself by encouraging a slower pace for art appreciation.
According to Vanessa Carlos, there’s a misconception that CONDO merely offers a cheaper alternative to art fairs for younger galleries. She emphasizes that the project is a reaction to an art world structure mirroring the broader world’s neoliberal pyramid, where corporate influence looms large.
CONDO goes beyond being a platform for commerce; it provides a space for risk-taking and the introduction of artists who might not find representation at traditional fairs. The lower cost of participation allows galleries to promote art not solely for its marketability but for its intrinsic value and innovation.
In a world where the commercial aspect often takes precedence, CONDO emerges as a beacon of collaboration, experimentation, and a celebration of artistic diversity. As its global footprint expands, CONDO redefines the gallery landscape and reinforces the significance of fostering collective creativity in the art community.
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