Currently works by Andre Cadere are being exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. I discovered Cadere in 1999 and was struck by what it would mean to be part of an endless conceptual activity that made a separation and rupture from ideas of evolution within artistic practices and by how an underlying structure and repetitive action could become a working methodology.
I continue to relate to this idea as it represents a form of constant that deals with time in a particular way, where a build-up and accumulation are considered part of a system, but the system itself lives not for the past and the future, but for the now.
"A round bar of wood is unalterable, because each piece is different from all others, and the work as a whole forms a constellation. This constellation is strictly limited.
On the other hand my activity has no aftermath, no future. There is no evolution, a round bar of wood is."
Andre Cadere, letter to Yvon Lambert, May 24, 19711
Developed from a system of mathematical permutations that inherently contained a mistake, the round bars of wood were made out of a number of wood sections hand painted and held together with wooden dowels. The placement of the round bars of wood were uninvited additions to exhibitions. The fact that they were carried by Cadere on his person created a series of encounters. These visual situations functioned as both marker and leveling mechanisms between a range of places, bringing art and non-art contexts together. They furthered insights into the debate of the readymade, but also dealt with the personal responsibility of the artist, questioning how he might disseminate a practice and at the same time use the framework and context of the art world to react to, and develop an independent work within. Cadere talks in his letters about the uselessness of words, but also about circulation and the possibilities for speech and speaking that his 'activity' provides. The act of speaking is a way of considering time, how something is; moments that punctuate time, affirming a sense of the itinerant, of continual movement. What importance does a sense of the itinerant have now? I think of this in relation to Cadere's quest for an independent work. Cadere's work reflected a current condition, constructing a political consensus either in support of, or in opposition to his activity. Either way there was a recognition that in being able to take a position, persons other than Cadere might decide if the round bars of wood could be shown or not; through invitations to exhibitions, invitations to give talks or lectures, or by his physical removal from exhibition venues.
These reactions connote the reality of the work in the exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Documentation reveals the extent of Cadere's movements, as he features in many of the images in conversation with people, for example at openings, to leave as trace the gesture of speech, or to offer some clue as to what might have possibly been spoken. I examine with whom he is talking, trying to place the circumstance of venue. Is he talking to his audience? Do their members become impromptu collaborators because of the very nature of the staging of a situation? By listening or holding a conversation, the performers in the encounter (with Cadere) are complicit, itinerant markers of the temporal presence of 'a round bar of wood'.
The itinerant can be seen as creating moments of visibility and invisibility within the work, making of the round bars of wood, mechanisms; tools for generating meetings, encounters, visual works. The documentation left over by Cadere's activities, the archive of photographs and written documents forms the residue, the historical timeline.
Any one of Cadere's round bars of wood is situated, it just 'is' if devolving the work from the historical timeline that is narrativised in documentation.
This provides a way to think the archive, the collection, as an open structure and device that, disengaged from the polemic of a moment, re-engages the now out of accumulation of time.
1 Andre Cadere. All Walks of Life. exhibition catalogue Institute for Contemporary Art, P.S.1 Museum, New York. Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. 1992. p. 21.
My photographic collection functions as a hidden aspect of my practice. I began taking photographs of architectural spaces and leisure locations in 1999, not long after I discovered Andre Cadere. This collection of photographs presents a travelogue. It is indebted to Cadere and his sense of the itinerant.
Charlotte Moth, 24 March 2008.