Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cadere on (non) development

Lynda Morris  I was very struck by your response to a question one of the Slade students asked you about the development of the work.

Andre Cadere   There is no development in the work. It is a method I made six years ago. It is a very precise method and it is always the same method. Each piece is different. It is not good to use the word "stick". Each "round bar of wood" is different. Each bar I make is included in a system that was there from the beginning, with permutations in the order of the colours, and one deliberate mistake (laughing). So in fact what I am doing is like a world constellation of round bars of wood. I do this and I do that in the making but in fact they are included in a platonic sense.

Lynda Morris  So the development in the work is not in the craft of making the bar of wood or the permutation of the colours, but in the situation where you present it ?

Andre Cadere   Exactly.  My art is the situation of my work in the art world. I am only interested in the art world because the work in the street is always the same. In the street there is no development because people in the street react in the same way today as they did six years ago and as they would react 20 years into the future. Maybe it will change as I grow older and older, maybe when I have white hair (laughter) but it is not certain.
     In the art world my work has changed in a very interesting way in the last five or six years. Even in 1972 at Documenta people asked me "What is this ?" I replied "This is my work and I exhibit it in this way. I bring it with me." People made fun of this and they said: "In six months you will become serious again." Six months later it was the same, I just continued for one year, two years and three years, and so the art world started to have different feelings about my work. And people started to ask: "What does he want, why is he always at openings and art fairs ? Does he want to show his work in galleries and in museums ?" And now in fact I have had a lot of shows in galleries and with museums and I continue to work with the round bar of wood. But I think the art world still does not really understand my work.

from Documenting Cadere 1972-1978, Modern Art Oxford/ Koenig Books 2013  

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Hedgehog and the Fox

'There is a line among the fragments of the Greek poet Archilochus which says: "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."

Scholars have differed about the correct interpretation of these dark words, which may mean no more than that the fox, for all his cunning, is defeated by the hedgehog's one defence.

But, taken figuratively, the words can be made to yield a sense in which they mark one of the deepest differences which divide writers and thinkers, and, it may be, human beings in general.

For there exists a great chasm between those, on one side, who relate everything to a single central vision, one system, less or more coherent or articulate, in terms of which they understand, think and feel - a single, universal, organising principle in terms of which alone all that they are and say has significance - and, on the other side, those who pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory, connected, if at all, only in some de facto way, for some psychological or physiological cause, related by no moral or aesthetic principle.

...The first kind of intellectual and artistic personality belongs to the hedgehogs, the second to the foxes...'

Isaiah Berlin, The Hedgehog and the Fox: An Essay on Tolstoy's View of History (1953/78)

Carl Andre, Herm, 1960 (realised 1978)

'I find that the more I feel that I'm capable of doing the things I want to do, the narrower my scope is. I feel far more concentrated. I'm definitely a hedgehog, as in the metaphor of Archilochus, the way someone like Bob Morris is definitely a fox. The fox knows many things and the hedgehog knows one thing very well. This is not a value distinction at all. Rather, it's a difference in temperament between different kinds of people.'

Carl Andre, interview with Patricia Norvell, 1969

Andy Warhol, Superman, 1961

By contrast to Andre, Warhol most certainly was a fox.

'If an artist can't do any more, then he should just quit; and an artist ought to be able to change his style without feeling bad. I heard that Lichtenstein said that he might not be painting comic strips a year or two from now - I think that would be so great, to be able to change styles. And I think that's what's going to happen, that's going to be the whole new scene.'

Andy Warhol, interview with Gene Swenson, 1963