My name is Gary Carrion-Murayari. I’m the Kraus Family curator at the New Museum and one of the co-curators of the exhibition, Thomas Bayrle: Playtime.
In the center of this gallery there are 4 works that Thomas refers to as praying machines. These are kinetic sculptures that take parts from different kinds of vehicles—either cars or motorcycles—isolates them and turns them into kind of anthropomorphic devotional figures. Each of these objects is accompanied by a soundtrack that includes voices, either reciting religious prayers or recording other aspects of liturgical services that he’s recorded in actual churches in Germany and France.
Windshield Wiper takes the form of a conductor, conducting an invisible orchestra. While the other works are more tied to the kinds of mechanical nature of prayer. These works were both inspired by Thomas’s interest in the kind of beauty and the kind of worship of the automobile in Germany, but also his experiences as a young man observing a catholic ritual of the rosary for the first time and seeing these figures going through a kind of repetitive, almost machine like set of prayers that for him were almost kind of industrialized means of achieving spiritual salvation.