Condo is back with 50 galleries showing across 23 spaces in London. An art marathon taking in all exhibitions is just about possible over the preview weekend, after which the galleries revert to their regular opening hours.
Half the exhibitions are located in the East End, these are some of my highlights:
1. & 2. Carlos/Ischikawa hosting Chapter NY and Galerie Kandlhofer
Carlos/Ishikawa came up with the concept of hosting co-curated exhibitions with galleries visiting from other cities and is the obvious starting point. The space is off the beaten track in a builders’ yard off Mile End Road. The host’s solo of large-scale abstracts by Senegalese-Belgian artist Libasse Ka alone is worth the extra mile. His works are teamed with a duo presentation of paintings by Cheyenne Julien and Stella Zhong presented by Chapter NY.
A performance by Richie Culver is a thought-provoking addition by Galerie Kandlhofer from Vienna. Visible only through gaps in the window vinyl on a neighbouring space, it takes a while for eyes to adjust to the darkness inside, eventually revealing faces lit up by mobile screens. With everyone on the Condo trail sharing their favourite discoveries on Instagram, this was the most poignant contribution.
3. Kate MacGarry hosting Bureau
Kate MacGarry is among a small cluster of galleries near Shoreditch High Street station, for Condo the gallery presents three artists from their own roster alongside three artists represented by Bureau, including two Polish artists with Wojciech Bakowski and Goshka Macuga, US-based Erica Baum and Matt Hoyt, and London artists Ben Rivers and John Smith. The overall curation is calm and poetic and makes visitors linger before rushing on to the next place.
4. Project Native Informant hosting P21 and Gianni Manhattan
A short walk from Bethnal Green station for another cluster of galleries that are all worth a visit. The Heroes presented by Taewon Ahn for P21 and Ibrahim Meite Sikely for Gianni Manhattan are some of the more playful contributions to Condo. Painted in very different styles yet both blurring the lines between analogue and digital aspects, Ahn’s Hiro series of glitchy kittens predictably delighted the crowds while Sikely’s titles in particular hint at darker aspects of contemporary culture.
Project Native Informant occupies two spaces on the same stretch of road with Mother’s Tankstation wedged in between and Herald St immediately opposite.
5. The Approach hosting Marfa’ Projects
The gallery presents a solo exhibition by Danish artist Evren Tekinoktay in its main space above a pub near Victoria Park, with Beirut gallery Marfa’ Projects hosted in the annexe. Talar Aghbashian’s paintings are described as an ‘exploration of the human relationship to the landscape, and the projection of one onto the other’. Being surrounded by these landscapes in a relatively small room resulted in fascinating conversations with strangers who were pulled in by the evocative hues of her paintings.
The Approach is not quite as convenient to reach but has the advantage of being located above a buzzing pub. A visit to the gallery can be combined with a detour to Soft Opening on the opposite side of Cambridge Heath Road.
The 9 spaces on this trail host 11 galleries from as far afield as Germany, Austria, Kosovo, Lebanon, Mexico, Korea and the US and jointly show 45 artists of at least 20 different nationalities, including two Turner Prize nominees (Goshka Macuga and Michael Dean) – all within a 1 mile radius.
Finally, a few artworks that made me smile:
A collaborative exhibition by 50 galleries across 23 London spaces through to February 17th