COLOGNE.- Thomas Bayrle (1937) has been invited to Museum Ludwigs main gallery to install an overview of his works from the last 40 years that all explore a particular artistic strategy: the loop or looping. While a loop is a kind of ring, the activity of looping refers to the continual repetition of the one and the same motif, whether in Rap music or by constantly running through the same sequence when writing a computer programme.
Just such a game between difference and repetition has developed in Thomas Bayrles graphic oeuvre. Apart from some 60 silkscreen prints on paper (1969-72), the exhibition will also contain a number of large scale silkscreen prints on vinyl. The artist printed them himself in 1967/68 in Nutzen and then joined them together. Through the repeated use of the same screens, which were modified merely by means of paper stencils, Bayrle produced a loop in the manufacturing process which was arrived at on the formal level by the accumulation of ever-recurring visual elements. By constantly using the same motifs, he built up traceries of forms that serves as the building bricks for superforms. Thus, for instance, a host of tiny beer glasses can be used to form one large beer glass, and hundreds of tiny telephones to create a portrait of a woman.
Since the 1980s, Thomas Bayrle has turned his mind to the motif of the motorway. In his sculptural works, the rings and loops of his deliberately model-like road sections twist in and out and over and under one another. Not only do they give the impression of a motion that is directed against its own self, they also present frozen visuals inasmuch the lengths of road form letters of the alphabet or Chinese characters - and sometimes even serve as surfaces for images that have been printed on them.
At the same time they constitute the backdrop for the genesis of Bayrles new sculpture, Conveyor Belt, which commands centre place in the exhibition. Here Bayrle has transposed one of his models from the last few years into an architectural dimension that links up directly with the surrounding architecture of the building. The roughly four meter tall loops seem veritably to soar round the visitors as they approach the sculpture via the temporary access that has been created specially for the exhibition bringing in yet another meaning of the verb to loop.