Feb/Mar 2008

André Cadere: Peinture sans fin

Eric Banks


André Cadere belonged to a vibrant generation of avant-garde artists whose careers were cut short by premature death (in the span of 1975–78, Gordon Matta-Clark, Bas Jan Ader, Marcel Broodthaers, Blinky Palermo, and Cadere all passed away). Given the flaneurlike nature of his “promenades,” in which he would tote his brightly painted “barres de bois rond” (bars of round wood), the appearance of Cadere in photographs documenting these walks seems even more spectral today. Information on the artist is notoriously difficult to come by; monographs are hard to find, and the traveling exhibition originating at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Germany, is the first institutional show of his work since 1996. So the accompanying catalogue, André Cadere: Peinture sans fin, is important not only for those eager to have a more complete picture of the artist and his work—which combined a perambulatory critique of the institution with a rethinking of painting and sculpture after Minimalism—but also for artists who haven’t had the chance to see this much Cadere in print. Thirty years later, it is still fascinating to read of his parasitic practice: He left his bars of wood in museum exhibitions and gallery shows to which he had not been invited; he slyly disrupted Harald Szeemann’s attempt to co-opt his promenades at Documenta 5, in 1972; he made “extensions” to his 1976 exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London by placing his wooden bars in nearby pubs. This monograph includes numerous photographs and other documentation of Cadere’s work, as well as essays elucidating the wanderer’s career and a helpful, previously unpublished interview from 1976.

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