Bayrle began working on this series of works after a vacation to Rome in 2015 during which he visited the church of San Luigi dei Francesi and saw Caravaggio’s masterpiece in the Contarelli Chapel.
A continuation of his renowned compositional techniques, Bayrle offers a dual image: a first one sees the silhouettes of Saint Matthew and of the angel; upon closer inspection, one sees the modular repetition of hundreds of miniature iPhones. The image is repeated obsessively in the exhibited canvases, pervading every wall of the deconsecrated church.
For over half a century, through his artistic practice Bayrle has analyzed and criticized contemporary society, its means of production and communication mechanisms, expressing feelings of fascination and alertness for the technologies it produces. The artist has coined the term Superform for his works based on the multiplication of images repeated endlessly and collected to create larger images. These compositions of micro elements in relation recall the human, the idea of a “superorganism", and at the same time express a strong criticism. In fact, Bayrle provides us with a powerful portrait of the contemporary mass-man, of the complexity of his identity, oscillating between the self and the others, between solitary alienation and paradoxical plurality of relationships. The iPhone is emblematic in this sense, as an appendix or digital prosthesis on which we spend an increasingly large part of our hyperconnected life.
Courtesy of Gavin Brown's enterprise New York/Rome,
Photo by Roberto Apa