Thomas Bayrle

dépendance is pleased to present Thomas Bayrle’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition is on view through April 13th, 2019.

In the 1960s, Bayrle started to produce works based on the serial repetition of the same pattern, a move inspired by structuralism, which was proving extremely influential for minimal, pop and conceptual art. These results set the foundations for his singular visual language. Bayrle has used the resources of artistic collage to weave individual images into an overall picture, into what he terms Superform, in which one identical single element in varied brightness make up one iconic picture. The artist initially envisioned Superform while working as a Jacquard weaver, staring into the hypnotic patterns of thread crossings. Also during this period, He began to directly address the alurring nature of technology.

The exhibition at dépendance brings together seven works Bayrle created in 1990 using his signature Superform technique. The black and white works are original hand made designs propositions for a subway station in the city of Offenbach, which is adjacent to Frankfurt am Main. The coloured canvases were made with lino paint stamped repetitively into the canvas, creating images described by the artist as traffic ornaments.

The collages’ subjects are all related to speed and the human; topics Bayrle addresses in his work throughout the decades. The works refer too to Paul Virilio, the ‘high priest of speed,’ and deals with the impact of speed on the contemporary world. As in Virilio’s theory, Bayrle’s work shows the far-reaching extent to which the speed conquered all and everything over the centuries.

One of the most important artists to have emerged during the 1960s West German economic boom, Bayrle has received belated recognition for his influential works and processes. Long before the advent of current visual technologies, he foresaw our digital reality, employing photocopy machines and other midcentury tools in his early works to create analog visualizations of what are now fundamental traits of our digital culture. Bayrle’s thematic investigations have ranged from a visual analysis of mass culture and consumerism to reflections on the intersection of technology with global politics.

An influential and pioneering figure, German artist Thomas Bayrle (b. 1937, Berlin; lives and works in Frankfurt) has been an important reference for several generations of artists, both through his teaching (he taught at the well-known Städelschule from 1975 to 2002), and through his participation in international exhibitions. Over the years, Bayrle has built up an extremely coherent body of work, one that tends towards the obsessive while combining allegiances to pop and conceptual art in unique ways.

Last year, Bayrle had a major retrospective, titled Playtime at the New Museum, NY. The artist’s retrospective exhibition, Thomas Bayrle: All-in-one opened in WIELS, Brussels in 2014 and toured to the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK and Institut d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne Rhône-Alpes, France.

Bayrle’s work is in the collections of the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Städelmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Museum Ludwig, Köln, Germany; Kunstmuseum, Stuttgart, Germany; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Fonds Regional d’Art Contemporain du Limousin, Limoges, France; Seattle Art Museum, Washington; Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; MoMA, New York.