Thomas Bayrle

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Thomas Bayrle, recording from the film The Future of Art (2010)

Thomas Bayrle (born November 7, 1937 in Berlin ) is a German object artist , painter , graphic artist and video artist .


Thomas Bayrle was born as the son of the painter and graphic artist Alf Bayrle and his wife, the doctor of art historian Elisabeth Weiss. From 1934 to 1937 both worked at the Frobenius Institute and took part in expeditions in Africa. With his mother and two younger brothers, he was evacuated to Oberndorf near Gelnhausen in Hesse in 1940 . In 1953 the family moved to Frankfurt.

Bayrle, who wanted to become a textile engineer, did a two-year training as a pattern draftsman and weaver from 1956 . In the Gutmann machine weaving mill in Göppingen , he worked on jacquard looms , the noise of which reminded him of a rhythmic sound that inspired him to work decades later, as did the vertical textile ornamentation.

From 1956 to 1958 Bayrle studied from 1958 to 1961 at the Werkkunstschule Offenbach . First, he had the objective of the study commercial art , but he turned to printmaking to and learned at Eberhard Behr, the technique of lithography and etching . In 1961 he founded the Gulliver press together with Bernhard Jäger and also made a name for himself as a printer and publisher of artist books. One of the first books by Ernst Jandl ( Hosi-Anna! 1965) appeared in the Gulliver press, illustrated by Thomas Bayrle and Bernhard Jäger. In 1964 he took part in documenta III and in 1977 in documenta 6 in Kassel . From 1972 to 2002 he was a professor at the State University of Fine Arts - Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main . His students included Martin Liebscher , Marko Lehanka , Georg Peez , Manfred Stumpf , Kerstin Jeckel and Stefan Müller . In 1995 he was visiting professor at Tohoku University in Japan.

He is married to the artist Helke Bayrle (* 1941). Thomas Bayrle lives and works in Frankfurt am Main .


Bayrle's work is usually based on a basic graphic principle. Based on traditional techniques, he was one of the first German artists to produce computer-generated and animated art. The main aesthetic element of his work is the serial principle. Bayrle finds himself in the American tradition of Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein , but also of the German artist Sigmar Polke , in that he often takes his pictorial subjects from the world of consumer goods. By reflecting on a world of goods as an accumulation of multipliable, repeatable forms and pictograms , Bayrle not only provides a commentary on society, but also refers to his own artistic means.

The motors that were shown during dOCUMENTA (13) were assembled by Anton Schwinghammers' precision mechanics company.


In recent years there have been important solo exhibitions and participations in galleries and museums in Düsseldorf, Montréal, Cologne, Graz, Frankfurt am Main, Vienna, Venice, Auckland, Berlin, Duisburg, Geneva, Karlsruhe, New York, Zurich and Austin / Texas. Bayrle is represented with his work in museums, public and private collections in the German-speaking and Anglo-Saxon regions. In 1984 he took part in Von hier aus - Two months of new German art in Düsseldorf . In 2002 he had an exhibition in the Städel Museum in Frankfurt am Main.

In 2005 and 2006 Bayrle took part in exhibitions at the Center for Art and Media Technology , Karlsruhe, the Kunstmuseum Thun , the Kunsthaus Zürich , the Museum of Modern Art (MMK), Frankfurt am Main, and the Kunsthalle Fridericianum , Kassel . In 2007 Bayrle exhibited in the Fonds Régional d'Art Contemporain Limousin (FRAC), Limoges and in the Office for Contemporary Art, Oslo . In 2008 he was a participant in the Biennale of Sydney (Art Gallery of New South Wales). In 2009 a major retrospective exhibition took place at the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) in Barcelona . In 2012 he was a participant in dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel. Bayrle documented his engagement with the Christian faith in 2014 through a selection of his works with the exhibition Catholic in the Kunst-Station Sankt Peter Cologne and through the exhibition Agnus Dei in the St. Matthew Church at the Kulturforum Berlin .

For the 2003/2004 season in the Vienna State Opera he designed a huge large picture (176 m²) as part of the “Iron Curtain” exhibition series conceived by museum in progress .

In his solo exhibition 'If something is too long - make it longer' at the Vienna Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) , Bayrle combined traditional craft techniques with computer-generated art of the information age for the 2017/18 season. Significant new productions were also created for the exhibition, including the installation iPhone meets Japan , a walk-in scene with which Bayrle used a “super form” from iPhones to reflect a Japanese Shunga from the MAK's Asia collection.

Since March 2018, the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau München has been showing some of the artist's futuristic compositions. As part of the exhibition I'm a Believer. Pop Art and contemporary art from the Lenbachhaus and the KiCo Foundation will be presented with the large-format sculpture "Autostrada" (2003) and other graphic wall panels from the collection.


Literature (selection)

  • Bayrle & Jäger : Gulliver Press 1961–1966. Galerie Bernd Slutzky, Frankfurt am Main 1991, ISBN 3-9802923-1-2 .
  • Bayrle. Edition Unida, The Hague 1970.
  • Fire in the wheat. March, Frankfurt am Main 1970.
  • Thomas Bayrle: Prints 1960–1983. Exhibition catalog, Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg 1981.
  • Bayrle Big Book. Verlag der Buchhandlung Walter König, Cologne 1990, ISBN 3-88375-170-7 .
  • Thomas Bayrle: works 1967–1995. China Youth Press, Beijing / Unak, Tokyo 1997, ISBN 7-5006-2483-2 (Chinese / Japanese).
  • Thomas Bayrle. Exhibition catalog, Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Revolver, Archive for Contemporary Art, Frankfurt am Main 2002, ISBN 3-934823-89-0 .
  • Daniel Birnbaum et al. (Ed.): Thomas Bayrle. 40 Years of Chinese Rock'n'Roll. Book for the exhibition in Frankfurt: 40 Years of Chinese Rock'n'Roll, 2006, ISBN 3-86560-100-6 .
  • Cuz Martínez et al: I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore. Museu d'arte Contemporani de Barcelona 2009, ISBN 978-84-92505-02-9 (English).
  • Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, Nicolaus Schafhausen, Bärbel Vischer (eds.): THOMAS BAYRLE. Pattern maker . VfmK Verlag für modern art GmbH, Vienna 2017.
  • Massimiliano Gioni et al .: Thomas Bayrle Playtime , Phaidon, London 2018 (for the exhibition in the New Museum, New York), ISBN 978-0-71487635-1

Web links

Commons : Thomas Bayrle  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Announcement of the exhibition "Agnus Dei" by Thomas Bayrle on the website of the St. Matthäus Foundation. Retrieved September 7, 2014 .
  2. If something is too long - make it longer - MAK Museum Vienna. Retrieved November 28, 2017 .
  3. Lenbachhaus - I'm a Believer. Retrieved March 18, 2019 .
  4. detail. Retrieved March 18, 2019 .