Condo London 2018 Edition: What’s Next?

Condo London 201: When Contemporary Art Unity Is Strength

Turn off the lights, lift the curtains up: the new art-fair alternative Condo is about to launch its 3rd edition with the upcoming preview weekend (13/14 January, 12-6 pm). Sync your agendas, then: this uber-curated event, gathering 17 London-based galleries hosting 27 of their international contemporaries, will run until February 10th 2018.

Behind The Scene of Condo, The New Collaborative Exhibition Initiative Led by Vanessa Carlos

As the global art fair circuit is ruthlessly expensive, renting a booth could be an unaffordable luxury for most galleries. And here comes Condo – a collaborative project led by Vanessa Carlos from Carlos/Ishikawa – based on a selection of London galleries about to open their doors to foreign art dealers to stage collaborative exhibitions showcasing artists from both rosters. Collaboration and generosity are the core ideas, reflected also by the project title ‘condominium’ posing a special emphasis on the  “com-” part meaning “together”.

Condo’s about creating conditions where gallerists can show more experimental work without being worried about paying the bills

Vanessa Carlos

Condo is seen as innovative model of international cooperation between galleries, able to provide an alternate way of exhibiting abroad, to create partnerships, to allow the audience discovering new international artists and galleries. All of this, making possible to avoid the prohibitive costs of attending a proper art fair. How? By sharing some costs to cover the opening party, the web design and maps, spaces, audiences and network. Condo is a rule-breaker: the traditional art fairs, gallery swaps and gallery weekends models are not enough. Contemporary art unity is strenght.

Condo: From London, through New York, to Shanghai and Mexico City

From its first edition onwards, the London-wide number of participants has grown: from the 24 galleries in 8 spaces of 2016, to the 36 in 15 spaces of 2017, till the 2018 list with 46 across 17 spaces. A number kept rigorously under control to preserve its characteristic communal atmosphere, which encourages a needed slower way of looking and engaging conversation between collectors, art lovers, international galleries and artists. Because of this intimate nature, Vanessa Carlos pointed out that scaling could be the only great unsolvable problem of the new model.

Condo started with the aim of being developed through Europe, Asia, North America and Latin America. Not necessarily under the same Condo brand flag, though: in fact, Vanessa Carlos declared herself open to support similar projects in different cities under original names. Concerning the proper Condo’s projects, in 2017, the New York City edition was developed by Simone Subal and Nicole Russo, while this year Shanghai – with Lorraine Malingue – and Mexico City are set on the agenda.

The Contemporary Art Market in Latin America: An Overview

But why Latin America? Let’s start by saying generally that its contemporary art market appears being in full bloom. More technically, as Deloitte and ArtTactic’s 2016 Art and Finance report says, the regional market trends in modern and contemporary art and 2016 outlook are generally positive. In fact, there’s a +41% forecast at the Future wealth indicators: predicted growth in UHN-WIs in the next 10 years, a 1 % percentage of allocation to art and collectibles, the 38% increase in allocation to art and collectibles  and an increase of 11% in the auction sales trend of the 2014-2015. The emerging Latin American art markets – such as Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Uruguay – generally combating the pessimism surrounding Brazil’s adverse economic conditions.

In this generally positive panorama, the Latin American region has been witnessing both a strenghthening of established art collectors and an increasing number of new ones. Philanthropists such as Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, owners of personal collection boasting first-rate pieces by contemporary masters turned into the largest private museum of Latin America as Eugenio Lopez with the Museo Jumex, just to cite a few, makes this environment even more interesting to discover. Definitely, a universe worth a detailed study.

Art & Collectors Columnist #CamillaColavolpe