Thomas Bayrle

Santa Maria, Madre di dio, prega per noi peccatori, adesso e nell’ora della nostra morte, 2009
Sancta Maria, Madre di dio, prega per noi peccatori, adesso e nell’ora della nostra morte, 2009
Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
19.10.2016 – 15.01.2017

Over the course of a career spanning nearly five decades, German artist Thomas Bayrle has continuously explored the profound and irreversible impact of new technologies on human life and the environment. His techniques and aesthetic approaches draw heavily on industrial processes of mass production.

Bayrle’s Automeditation consists of special car tires whose threads bear a pattern of crosses, while the first words of the rosary grace their sidewalls: “Ave Maria, Gratia Plena, Dominus Tecum. Benedicta Tu In Mulieribus Et Benedictus Fructus Ventris Tui Jesus”. As the wheels rotate, prayer is automated, in a manner reminiscent of a Tibetan prayer wheel. Trained as a textile weaver, Bayrle recalls how the sound of the power loom in the textile factory of his youth reminded him of the soft murmuring of God-fearing women reciting their rosaries in church: “in the midst of the roaring noise of the factory hall of the Weberei Gutmann in Göppingen, the women’s repetitive murmuring came back to me and appeared to be embedded in the rhythmic chant of the machines (…) the muttering as a bass voice merged with the wailing of the metal, creating a perfect unity. I spent hours and days listening to this secret sound and after years it crept up on me, even in the discos or when I was driving, as if those women had been confined deep within the machinery of my car, pushing their way out through the vibration or the imbalance of the tires, knowing that ‘Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee’ is inscribed on the side of the tires and as the wheels turn, they pray.”