(1934 - 1978)
Andre Cadere was active/lived in France, Romania. Andre Cadere is known for multi-colored wood cylinder stick man, stripped pole objects ("Barres").
Biography from the Archives of askART
"Documenting Cadere, 1972-1978-review, by Laura Cumming, The Guardian, US edition, Web, Jan. 2013
** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
André Cadere was the stick man, the artist known for carrying a stick. He took one wherever he went. This stick – or sticks, for there seem to have been a hundred or more during the course of his painfully short life – was not just a length of wood but a collection of smaller wooden cylinders painted in bright colours and threaded on a rod. The colours varied, and so did the sizes and permutations. But Cadere was essentially a one-work artist.
What an innocent object the striped stick sounds – and looks. There is one on display at Modern Art Oxford painted in a particular combination of yellows, purples and blues that somehow seems to evoke the 1970s, when it was made. It's irregular, the 20 tubes slightly ill-matched like a child's dried pasta necklace, and one notices the pleasing carpentry of each piece. It might look as if it has something to do with other sculptures of that era that had numbers in mind – Carl Andre's bricks, say – but is much more crafted and charming.
So much so that it's impossible to imagine these Barres de Bois Rond (as Cadere called them) as mischievous, still less subversive in any way. But of course it is what the artist did with them that became the story.
Cadere was a nomad. Born in Poland in 1934, he grew up in Romania but emigrated to Paris in 1968. He had scraped a living behind the Iron Curtain as a studio assistant to various painters, and in Paris he had a short stint painting abstract works. I suppose it could be said that his Barres are a combination of painting and sculpture – which is pretty much the claim at Tate Modern, where they have a 1973 Barre – yet this seems beside the point.
The Barre was an artwork that needed no gallery. Anyone could view it, and they could view it anywhere. Cadere carried it on the underground, to the shops, on the boulevards of Paris and the avenues of New York, through museums and parks and other people's exhibitions. He was like a pilgrim traveller with a staff. Hundreds of thousands of people may have seen his art inadvertently, many more than would ever have looked at it in a gallery, and indeed this was entirely the point.
The work, such as it was, had no back, no front, couldn't be mounted on the wall like a painting, or stationed on the floor like a sculpture. It had no stability and not much value (although Cadere did offer to sell his Barres at 30 French francs per centimetre in 1972). Thus they escaped the tyranny of the gallery system, for Cadere, as well as the forces of the market. The Barres could be shown only wherever the artist was. The means of distribution were in his hands, quite literally, with the predictable irony that fashionable galleries rapidly had Cadere in their sights.
What he was doing seems so remote now that it isn't easy to imagine its effects in the 70s art scene, which is where the Oxford show comes in. The curators (one of whom, Lynda Morris, knew him well) have somehow managed to assemble all sorts of traces of Cadere's progress through the world in the form of spectral photographs, where he crosses the scene like a handsome ghost, as well as press cuttings, diaries, telegrams, private letters and preview cards (several for pubs in Oxford where he presented the Barres, presumably at the bar), which are among the last traces of his work.
It wasn't a performance, exactly (he had nothing in common with contemporaries, such as Gilbert and George). It wasn't an intervention exactly, although he did beard museums directors in their dens, and regularly turned up uninvited at art-world parties. Documents reveal his sharp dealings with powerful figures at biennales and group shows, skewering their pomposity. Photos show him mingling with the Manhattan glitterati to their half-excited discomfort.
I especially liked his response to a hoo-ha over an international exhibition, where Cadere had leaned one of his poles against a wall to the wrath of the infinitely more famous stripe-man, the French conceptual artist Daniel Buren. Buren withdrew from the show in a huff. Cadere wrote in mock sorrow to the organisers that he was sorry that the presence of one of his sticks apparently meant nobody could see the immense work of
One realises, after a while, how important it was that the Barre should be inoffensive, not much more than a cheery striped pole. Modern Art Oxford has the record of a lecture – and even some sound – that Cadere gave, in which he criticises artists who merely decorate galleries (think Buren again), though his own work was decorative in its way, the striped poles matching the striped Breton shirts he wore. It was simply that nobody needed to pay to see it, or go to a sacred gallery. He was against the ridiculous reverence and self-love of the art world.
The MAO show is lacking in several respects. It has no film of Cadere in action, and it has none of his Barres presented, as they often were, in skewed and piquant ways around a gallery to make the visitor think twice about where they were (and why). And the deeper nuances of his ideas are not easily gleaned without hours fine-combing the documents.
But a portrait emerges not just of Cadere's life – the girl he meets in America, the cancer that kills him at 44 – but also of his times. The Barre becomes a barometer to national temperament. The Italians don't like it, whereas the French are quite insouciant and the New Yorkers very relaxed about the whole idea. It went down very well at our own ICA.
But Cadere's work was dependent on his presence, and each Barre is a mark of his absence. The meaning of his work has inevitably changed. Before his death these sticks belonged to a new form of promenade art; afterwards they became the measure of his life and fate.
Share an image of the Artist email@example.com.