Condo, which describes itself as a “collaborative exhibition by 24 galleries across eight London spaces” and runs for a month, attempts to pioneer a new model for young galleries seeking to build their audience and client base abroad. It was conceived by Vanessa Carlos, director of Carlos/Ishikawa, as a cooperative alternative to the art fairs that have come to crowd an already busy calendar for dealers aspiring to grow their businesses. Eight London spaces—Rodeo, Southard Reid, and Project Native Informant in the West End, Carlos/Ishikawa and Supplement in the east, and The Sunday Painter, Arcadia Missa, and Chewday’s south of the river—play host to their peers (and rivals) from New York, Rome, Amsterdam, Shanghai, Berlin, Zurich, Paris, Geneva, Glasgow, and São Paulo.
Each visiting gallery, Carlos tells me, pays £600 for the opportunity and is entitled to all of the money accruing from sales. The London spaces are presented with the opportunity to exhibit their own artists alongside those brought from abroad, to develop a new network of contacts, and to be part of an endeavour that has garnered substantial press coverage and industry buzz in the otherwise grey weeks of London’s new year. It’s a project that seems to depend on the participants’ generosity of spirit and willingness to compromise—not always qualities one associates with the commercial art world—but there’s a clear financial incentive for all involved. The relative absence of risk, Carlos suggests, also liberates galleries to be more ambitious with their presentations.