A wooden car tire, with the first words of the familiar rosary as its tread, that begins to rotate like a prayer wheel when touched lightly... a manipulated Porsche motor, combined with a sound montage (cooperation with Bernhard Schreiner) that mixes the lush sound of the engine with the sing-song of a group of women at prayer ... an isolated pair of windscreen wipers that move like a portent in front of a white wall, while chanting a scourging “Pray for us” in time to the rhythmic back-and-forth... a silkscreen that reproduces the labyrinthine structure of the famous floor mosaic of Chartres Cathedral and transforms it into a water-bottling machine ...
In this exhibition Thomas Bayrle, who has been occupied with mass phenomena of all kinds since the 1970s, brings together in a higher sense the central artistic and intellectual strands of his work. Formal aspects such as monotony and repetition, consistent constructive principles – for example in his well-known collages and silkscreens, come together in a kind of machine-like parallel circuit encompassing the themes of religion, mass mobility and economics, which Bayrle has commented and interpreted in his work for many years now.
“For a long time the ‘Western’ equivalent to ‘Eastern’ meditation was prayer. Its forms range from deep ardour to literary hedging and quarrelling with God. – In the semi-darkness of the church old women say their rosaries. Crowded together on the pews, they murmur like an eerie stream. They are a humming collective body that – endlessly, slowly – moves bead after bead through its hands. They are working a great web and they murmur and weave for hours. (I almost forgot)
In the frenzied din of the factory floor – of the Gutmann weaving mill in Göppingen – the murmuring of the women came back to me in the sing-song of the machines. At a certain frequency, the crankshafts of the automatic looms sang ‘humanly’. Like 2 clutch plates, the songs approached and joined with one another. So the voices came from within ... the murmuring as bass line melted into a unity with the wailing metal. So I sing-song through the hours and days – and could hibernate for 1 year. – In the discos too – or drivin’ the car – this secret sing-song crept in ... as if the women were embedded deep within the gearbox and emanating outwards through the vibration. Or as an imbalance of the tires – who understand – that – OUR FA THER WHO ART IN HEA VEN is in their tread – and while they speed – they pray ... in 300 km ... 1,244,000 times.”
Thomas Bayrle, A U T O M E D I T A T I O N, 19.2.1987