It was time for the second phase of my Condo 2019 exploration, though unfortunately I picked one of the coldest days of January. Having already explored Soho and Farrington, it was now time to move east to the varied areas of the East End of London. As with my first visit, I discovered new galleries, a new arts district, new artists, and this time also explored parts of London I was not familiar with.
Map in hand, I started near Aldgate with Union Pacific’s gallery in Goulston Street with its huge window onto the street, which I commend. Far too many of the galleries I visited, though for perhaps understandable reasons, took discretion and anonymity to extremes. So, Union Pacific gets top points from me, hosting work from the galleries Lomax from New York and Christian Andersen from Copenhagen over its two floors, alongside its own artists. Then, well wrapped up against the cold wind outside, it was off to Shoreditch to Emalin, hosting Galerie Emanuel Layr and Galerie Barbara Weiss through a discrete door in a street-artist decorated façade and then to Kate MacGarry with a surprising high and well-lit gallery space tucked behind a small entrance in which she hosted an exhibition by the Edouard Mlingue Gallery from China.
Then, a long walk in the cold wintry weather. I thought it would be easier than public transport, past the increasingly gentrified areas of Shoreditch with its vintage and retro clothing stores, along the railway line, into an area of car repair and taxi maintenance firms, so many companies that it felt to be the taxi-maintenance capital of the world. And then, a new discovery, Herald Street in Bethnal Green in which two galleries are participating in Condo, but there are several others to be investigated such as Ryder Projects. This is a street to be discovered and could one day take on the characteristics of Chelsea in New York. Behind discrete doorways are the great gallery spaces of Herald Street and Maureen Paley, but there are others to be explored on another occasion. Herald Street is hosting two American galleries Wilding Cran and Gordon Robichaux, while Maureen Paley is hosting Felix Gaudlitz from Vienna and Queer Thoughts from New York.
And then, off to the pub, actually to a hidden treasure – the Approach, with a great space with a group show hapeshifters on the first floor of the pub of the same name, plus an annexe at the rear hosting the Breeder from Athens. Charlie Smith in Old Street has a similar space, but much more constrained on the 2nd floor of the pub.
Then, last of all, to Vyner Street and to Modern Art. I know their gallery near Old Street/City Road well, but have never been here before, yet here we have one of the best Condo exhibitions in conjunction with Mehdi Chouakri from Berlin. It’s a funny area, still trying to find its identity- the basic problem of this warehouse district is street presence. Ground floor connectivity and visibility would transform the street. otherwise it feels closed and threatening.
Phase 3 to go next week – in the Vauxhall area…..