It feels like another era, several generations ago, but when I first came down from Scotland to London in the ’60′s, my cousin who lived here obviously thought as a young man from the ‘provinces’ I should be shown the delights of Soho with young scantily-clad women on the street waving and encouraging you to come down into some dodgy den downstairs. There was a famous saying about knocking on doors three times and asking for ‘Annie’.
Today the world has moved on – the electronic doorbell has now taken over, so it has been fun to explore Soho and find strange unexpected locations with only a hint of what is behind the door on the tiny labels on the multiple doorbells. A buzz, and doors are anonymously opened as new places in Soho are discovered – art galleries avoiding the expensive rents and business rates of a space on the ground floor of the street, in spaces with their own unique characters
Condo 2019 has arrived in London. A great initiative which brings artists in partnership with galleries from around the world to London in lesser-known gallery spaces, the insignificant doorways of which I have walked past (unknowingly) many times; others which require some exploration. In Charing Cross Road, a narrow staircase reveals the first floor space of Rodeo, cocooned for the installations of Brazilian artist Adriano Amaral in collaboration with the Galeria Jaqueline Martins, while a short walk away another staircase leads to another first floor space, Arcadia Missa, hosting Cajsa Von Zeipel, courtesy of Company in New York, and an alley leads to a small brick building where Southard Reid is hosting work from several artists through Frutta from Rome/Glasgow and Misako & Rosen in Toyko.
A couple of the galleries such as Sadie Coles HQ and Pilar Corrias are reasonably well known, so it is a good excuse to explore the parallel exhibitions in addition to those in Condo 2019 (Chateau Shatto from Los Angeles with Parker Ito and JTT New York with Elaine Cameron-Weir alongside the main exhibition by Ryan Sullivan at Sadie Coles and David Lewis from New York with an installation upstairs by Ken Okiishi at Pilar Corrias).
And then last in this area are the empty ground floor and basement spaces of the Cork Street Galleries at 22-24 Cork Street, newly built but not yet occupied and tidied up as a base for four galleries from Germany – Sandy Brown, Societe and Kow from Berlin and Galerie Max Mayer from Dusseldorf, alongside another gallery from Los Angeles, Commonwealth & Council, plus mother’s tankstation from Dublin/Glasgow and Project Native Informant from London. Here the digital works worked particularly well.
And then a bus ride to Farringdon and to Hollybush Gardens, again in an ununusual location, showing works by Attila Csorgo and Vadim Fishkin in collaboration with Gregor Podnar in Berlin, with the gallery’s own exhibition upstairs of digital video work by David Panos. Next week it will be some of the other areas, around Vauxhall and also Old Street for Condo Phase 2….