October 26, 2016 - Artissima - Thomas Bayrle: Flying Home
October 26, 2016


Design: Tassinari e Vetta/Leonardo Sonnoli with Irene Bacchi.

Thomas Bayrle
Flying Home
A special project for Artissima
November 4, 2016–May 28, 2017


Baggage claim area, Torino Airport

On the occasion of its 2016 edition, Artissima presents Flying Home, a new and unprecedented parallel project, specially conceived for the city, realised in collaboration with Torino Airport and curated by Sarah Cosulich.

For the first time, Torino Airport | Sagat is participating as a partner in an art commission, accepting Artissima’s challenge to experiment with new models, unexpected places and different audiences. These two seemingly unrelated institutions of the city have collaborated on a surprising cultural initiative, inviting the influential German artist Thomas Bayrle to create a site-specific work for Torino airport.

Thomas Bayrle (b. 1937, Berlin) is considered the pioneer of the German Pop Art movement. A forerunner of digital language before it could ever have been imagined, Bayrle has been creating images since the 1960s that use the same—or related—smaller pictures, infinitely repeated as units of a whole.

The airport, a place of transit in which thousands of lives intersect every day, is a particularly significant and recurrent theme in the artist’s research. His work reveals the dynamics of our society, of our movements through space, of economy, of technology, even of religion, all in connection with each other and being guided by a fundamental principle of repetition. Creator of a form of "artisanal digitalisation," Bayrle has built "by hand" images that, years later, computers would process automatically: he draws, prints, distorts, cuts and reassembles units that then make up whole.

For Flying Home, Bayrle has chosen the baggage claim area, which will be transformed into an unexpected and stimulating exhibition space, deeply imbued with meaning. Through an unprecedented sequence of images, Flying Home reveals the mechanisms of the construction of his mammoth piece, Flugzeug (Aeroplane, 1984), a large-scale print of a plane made up of a million small aeroplanes on a 96-square-metre surface.

The airplane depicted in Flying Home is the same one that he created in 1980 for Lufthansa when, fascinated by the message of speed, technology, and the future that the airline represented, Bayrle printed this work in a limited edition to be distributed to passengers. The Lufthansa matrix, a silkscreen composed of 1,960 small airplanes, modified and altered in as many units as were necessary, had in 1984 become one of the hundreds of models of the gigantic Flugzeug.

In Flying Home, the same matrix used by the artist in the past acquires an additional level: human presence, collaboration, interaction, gesture, and three-dimensionality. Highlighting for the first time the complex manual process of his practice, Bayrle hints at the "backstage" of the airport: the human side that is hidden in its functioning, yet fundamental to the definition of the "total composition."

Artissima’s project with Torino Airport connects the city through art in an engaging manner, welcoming all incoming travellers. Visitors not travelling by air are also invited to see the work, and a schedule of special visit times can be booked on the Torino Airport website starting from November 12.

Conceived and produced by:
Artissima and Torino Airport | Sagat


With the support of:
Camera di commercio di Torino
Goethe-Institut Turin

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Flying Home
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