Thomas Bayrle

  • Born 1937 in Berlin, Germany

Thomas Bayrle was a weaver’s apprentice from 1957 to 1959, and afterwards studied at the Werkkunstschule (Art College) in Offenbach until 1961. While he first concentrated on commercial art his focus soon shifted toward different printing techniques, such as lithography and etching. With Bernhard Jäger (b. 1937) he founded Gulliver-Presse in 1962, and quickly acquired renown as a printer and publisher of artist’s books. In Bayrle’s artistic practice his preference for graphics and printing merged with his fascination for machines and a critical approach toward mechanization and mass culture. Serial repetition within grid structures became the guiding principle of his works, which were related to American Pop art. He created images (Superform) out of repeated small logos, figures or pictograms, evoking the mechanics of global capitalist production. Bayrle sometimes also included controversial political personages in his works and “real” machines like engines (e.g. Kennedy in Berlin and Mao und die Gymnasiasten (Mao and the Athletes) (both 1964). From the late 1970s he worked with film, and later became a pioneer of computer-generated and animated art. He taught at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main from 1975 to 2007 and was repeatedly featured in the Venice Biennale (2003; 2009) and Documenta, Kassel (1964; 1977; 2012).

Artworks by Thomas Bayrle in the exhibition