Warsaw, Poland, 1934 – Paris, France, 1978
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.
As part of a project that interwove art and life, Cadere carried these batons, which can measure one meter in length, inside art venues and elsewhere. Questioning the systems of production, circulation and visibility of the art object as well as its indissociability from the market and institutions, his appearance at vernissages all over Europe became legendary.
Circulating among the visitors, with his wooden bars in hand, Cadere would stealthily conceal them behind the artworks being shown and provocatively interfere in the works of other artists. Cadere’s life and art were always characterized by his nomadic spirit, associating the idea 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 legitimated him.