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My art is the situation of my work in the world. It is critical of power. That is what I call the political in my work.

——André Cadere

André Cadere was born in Poland, grew up in Romania, and before his untimely death in Paris, in 1978, he was considered one of the most unique artists of his time. Little is known about his initial activity in Romania. When he arrived in France, he joined the generation of pioneers in conceptual art, who in the early 1970s questioned the dominant status of the artwork and the museums. This context gave rise to his celebrated Barres de Bois Rond (1970–78), wooden cylinders that garnered him the nickname of “Baton Man.” The batons were handcrafted by the artist, revealing characteristics of handmade objects, with slight, purposefully created imperfections. His production is nevertheless based on rigorous mathematical principles and a precise sequence of colors. Carrying the Barres on his shoulders through museums and other people’s exhibitions,  outdoor public spaces, shops, boulevards of Paris and even the avenues of New York, Cadere made the work viewable anywhere to anyone.

As a key figure in the early 1970s, Cadere removed art from the restrictive structure and exclusive nature of museums and galleries, questioning art’s relative relationship to its physical and institutional environment. Embracing his nomadic spirit, his life and works associate the life of freedom and autonomy in relation to the art world.The approximately 200 batons that he produced throughout his career represent a tool of rupture from the art circuit of that time, of which he was paradoxically also a part. Still today, Cadere is simultaneously inside and outside the circuit that legitimized him.


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