Exhibition Review: Condo New York
By Isabella Weiss
Condo, an inter-gallery collaborative event, just commenced its very successful debut in New York City. What began as an experiment in London has now established itself as an innovation in---and even perhaps the future of---small to mid-side international gallery exhibitions. While galleries of this size have been struggling for decades due to the expense of participating in global art fairs, Condo has now developed an alternative, more affordable, and intimate means of showing and sharing artworks internationally. In the past month, galleries from Dublin, Shanghai, Germany, Guatemala, Mexico (and more) showed artworks from their collections in New York City Galleries, and the event was extraordinarily successful. Condo is now the art-space sharing equivalent of Airbnb and Uber.
Although the participating galleries in Condo came from extremely diverse countries, the works that they exhibited shared a remarkable number of characteristics. For example, in terms of the photography exhibited, a large portion consisted of “found photography” collaged within or upon sculptural objects. Darja Bajagic’s works at Bureau were highly sculptural collages in the center of which the image of a missing or troubled teenage girl was pasted. On the upper floor of Rachel Uffner Gallery magazine cut-outs were pasted on parcels of white picket fences and hung from a fibrous natural string. Château Shatto’s works at Foxy Production were illusionistic photographic collages: what appeared to be 2-dimensional paper collages were in fact 3-dimensional collages, first sculpted and then photographed by the artist. The trend between these and other pieces is clear: they contrast material objects with illusionistically material images, and specifically images that the artist found rather than created.
In an increasingly globalized world that “shares” more images than it creates, the photographic trends in Condo are not surprising. What is surprising, however, are the highly material contexts that so many of these images have been grafted into. It is as if, because images today exist, for the most part, digitally, they yearn for the material existence provided by these artists. It is true that images in print and placed within a material context are more arresting. Condo has attempted to preserve the galleries that so often serve images as their material frame.