This week, London’s coolest young galleries are hosting their counterparts from Europe, Asia, Latin America and the USA. Martin Coomer talks to organiser Vanessa Carlos
Head to a gallery this weekend and you could be repaid with two, three – or more – shows in one. For four weeks, eight of the capital’s hippest spaces, ranging from Southard Reid in Soho to The Sunday Painter in Peckham, are opening their doors to like-minded galleries from as far afield as Shanghai and São Paulo. Some will simply divide up their premises, offering their guests a place to showcase their wares. Others will put on shows curated around shared interests. ‘We’re always complaining, as young galleries, that everything’s so expensive – that we can’t do what we want,’ says Vanessa Carlos, the go-getting London art dealer behind the event, called ‘Condo’. ‘So I thought it would be interesting to propose a way of collaborating.’
For host galleries, ‘Condo’ offers a chance to show alongside the international peers they most admire. For their guests, it’s a means of exhibiting in London on the cheap. And for us London gallery-goers? Well, we like to think we’re at the epicentre of the international art world, and for a month that will literally be true. Win, win and win.
Aside from a sense of bonhomie and a zeitgeisty Airbnb vibe, however, ‘Condo’ has a more serious aim. Carlos is keen to find a way for galleries such as hers to thrive in a world of increasingly ritzy art fairs, where smaller spaces need to be seen but often find it hard to cover their costs. ‘It’s not anti-art fair,’ she says. ‘It’s just about finding different ways of operating. As with any commercial gallery show, the art works are for sale, but this relieves the pressure of having to sell, which means maybe you can be more experimental.’
Carlos would love to see the idea picked up and, already, a few of the visiting galleries have suggested taking ‘Condo’ to different cities around the world. ‘I don’t know if it’s possible,’ she says. ‘London is quite a tight-knit community. People know each other. And one of the great things we have here is an audience for art. People are genuinely into going to see stuff.’ Sounds to us like a perfect opportunity to discover a world of cutting-edge art on your doorstep.
‘Condo’ runs Sat Jan 16 to Feb 13. For full details and a map, see condocomplex.org.Share the story