Thomas Bayrle: Repetition

Wednesday, March 20th 2013

6 pm – Lecture

Fullerton Hall, The Art Institute of Chicago



Esteemed German artist Thomas Bayrle (German, born 1937) will give a lecture entitled Repetitionon his diverse body of work of prints, films, and sculptures. Since 1964, Bayrle has produced works composed of hundreds of interlocking micro images that create a single portrait or consumer product. He relates the construction of these “super-forms” to the way single threads make up a woven fabric or individuals form mass culture. The images of his pictogram-like cells originate from serial elements present in Western advertising and Eastern mass demonstrations (such as Gillette razors, factory buildings, Stalin’s moustache, couples making love, Chinese farmers, and VW Beetles). According to Christine Mehring, “obsessive repetition functions here as a kind of visual equalizer, most interestingly across party lines, since the artist draws his iconography from the worlds of capitalism and Communism alike.”

3 responses to “Thomas Bayrle: Repetition

  1. I really loved this lecture and his work. It reminded me of Escher. I loved how he said things like “there was no plan” Or, “I never did anything unnecessary”. It was very inspiring to hear and see how much he produced and the emphasis on the craft, instead of on thinking. He is a very funny character too.

  2. I, too, really enjoyed this lecture. Bayrle’s enthusiasm for his work was evident in the quantity of slides he brought and the way he attempted to fit everything in. I also think it is very generous for an artist to reveal parts of their process as he did towards the end with the images of the hands stretching and contorting images. It was great to see how artists worked before digital manipulation was a given. He was funny and honest. Good things to gain from established artists such as Bayrle.

  3. It was funny, but I definitely would have appreciated greater depth/explanation on some of the pieces, more than ‘this is a laughing woman made of laughing women,’ etc. I can see that. Maybe what I would have liked is an art historian giving a lecture with the same slides.

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