In the 1960s, Bayrle developed a signature visual language of intricately patterned images. Drawing on his experience working in a weaving factory, he constructed tightly bound compositions, using images drawn from mass-media sources to create repeating rhythms. Exploring an optical play between figure and ground, Bayrle rendered his chosen icons—from a Volkswagen to film director Orson Welles—by tiling tiny pictures to generate both an overall pattern and a single image standing out against the background. This visual overload was a response to Germany’s exploding consumer culture in the 1960s and to the ease of reproducing images in the medium of screenprint. Bayrle was an important figure in German Pop art, and his work has been of great interest to the Museum. Due to the scarcity of available works, until recently the collection contained only one print by Bayrle (VW Red, 1969); in 2010, the artist made a group of impressions available to MoMA from his personal archive.
Gallery label from New to the Print Collection: Matisse to Bourgeois, June 13, 2012–January 7, 2013.