Saturday, August 31, 2013

One Is Enough

Having invented his Barre de petit bois ronde, Andre Cadere did not need to invent anything else. This one device was sufficient for his intention. It allowed him to intervene at any point in the gallery system and it allowed him to walk away at any time from the same system.

This situation is dramatised within the Barre itself: a sequence of colours is interrupted by one colour out of sequence, a context is established and then disrupted. With this, we have the full content of the Barres. They are not aesthetic objects: it would make no sense to compare them or to prefer one to another. In Cadere’s absence, the Barre remains emblematic of its maker’s freedom, of a critical intervention or distance.

In a similar way, Buren’s stripes were enough for his critical and installational purpose. He did not need a different device for each occasion. Indeed, to have used another motif would have been counter-productive. It would have introduced the possibility of comparison between works, or a chance for the exercise of aesthetic judgement. In Buren’s case, it is not the motif but its placement that is at issue, and for this purpose one motif is enough.