16 July, 2006

Thomas Bayrle

rec0mmended by art f0rum

Domstraße 10
March 17–August 27

Thomas Bayrle, an artist active in Frankfurt for over four decades and an influential teacher at the city's Städelschule for three, just presented an eye-opening, career-spanning survey at Gavin Brown's Enterprise in New York. This show, titled "40 Years Chinese Rock ‘n' Roll," is a hometown homage, and concentrates on very early and very recent works. It opens with a number of painted kinetic sculptures dated from the mid-'60s, simple structures comprising hundreds of small, rectangular chips of wood decorated with individual figures, which move from side to side to create larger pictures. Here, the dialectic between gemeinschaft and gesellschaftMao, 1966. The exhibition also includes a number of nearly psychedelic, brightly colored prints—featuring people and consumer goods, and Eastern and Western motifs—that offer similar transmutations.
plays out on a literal stage, as when a regiment of anonymous bureaucrats morphs into
These are interspersed with paper constructions that literally weave together black-and-white images taken recently in China; one must stand several feet away to see the picture emerge from the warp and weft. Bayrle

has long used weaving as a metaphor for how images are built from constituent parts (a printer's dots, the red-green-blue lights on a screen), and the ways in which people are ineluctably connected. The latter theme is embodied not only by his pedagogic achievements but also his collaborative endeavors, here marked by the inclusion, on a large, twisting, highwaylike paper sculpture (made with Nikolaus Hirsch and Michel Müller), of a monitor and speakers playing two works by Sunah Choi that fill the gallery, appropriately, with the convivial sounds of Chinese street life.chinese m0terways

Thomas Bayrle at the Städel
"My work is predominantly based on graphics. In the course of 30 years, I have just about 'grazed' all fields in which graphical events take place. Starting with old techniques - lithography, etching, screen-printing via offset, photo techniques - and leading to computer-generated elements. Working with graphics lead to film/video starting in 1980.

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