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.
Airplane is one of the most, largest and most dramatic works that Thomas Baylre has created during his career. The work came about originally in 1980 when he was commissioned by Lufthansa, the German airline, to create a pattern for their first class cabins. Eventually, over time, he transformed that pattern into this large scale photo collage. As in many works from the late 1970s and early 1980s, Thomas began with a small individual unit, which then gets built up into what he calls one of his superforms. During this period, he would make a stamp out of hundreds of smaller airplanes and then the stamp would then be used to produce the individual units of the collage.
This period was also called his rubber period for the ways in which he would then stamp onto pieces of rubber and then distort the pattern and then photocopy the individual pieces of rubber to create these kinds of monumental forms. So if you look really closely at the surfaces of the airplane you can see hundreds, if not thousands, or even a million small airplanes making up the body of the structure. Airplanes is one of a number of works that Thomas has made capturing the kind of wonders and marvels of modern transportation. He’s made a number of works in relationship to automobiles airplanes, motorcycles and other kinds of feats of modern engineering.