All-in-One is the title of Thomas Bayrle’s first major exhibition in Belgium, curated by Devrim Bayar at WIELS Contemporary Art Centre. The German artist is the protagonist of a project which extends WIELS’ commitment to promoting an alternative interpretation of art history. Bayrle’s work challenges the canonical categories and ideas of major movements, by combining references to Pop, Conceptual, Minimal and Op Art with a personal humour and an obsessive attitude.
His body of work is presented through a wide selection of pieces, spanning from the 1960s to now. The exhibition itinerary is not based on chronological lines but is arranged around the various, contradictory themes that run through the artist’s production. Some works are based on seriality and repetition and are characterized by the reiteration of patterns that re-elaborate in an original and ironic way the rules of the then-emerging Minimal Art movement. Pop culture and media are also subject to an appropriation that generates unexpected visual and conceptual short circuits, in works such as Feuer im Weizen (1970) or La Vache qui rit (1967). On show are also the artist’s first kinetic machines and his most recent engine installations, recently featured at dOCUMENTA (13). Consumerism and consumer society, political propaganda, sexuality, and religion are the main ideas developed in the artist oeuvre. Bayrle’s visual language appears as a unique invention, permeated by critical engagement and experimental approach.
Until 12 May 2013
1/7 Feuer im Weizen, 1970. Maerzverlag, Courtesy Thomas Bayrle / Hans Widauer
2/7 La Vache qui rit, 1967. Courtesy the artist, Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York
3/7 Ein Pils bitte!, 1972. Courtesy the artist, Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York
4-7/7 Installation views of the exhibition. Photos by Sven Laurent (let me shoot for you)