Exhibition at Kunsthaus Graz brings together Herbert Brandl's most important groups of works

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Exhibition at Kunsthaus Graz brings together Herbert Brandl's most important groups of works
Herbert Brandl, "Alpha against Alpha", 2015. Bronze, patinated, unique piece, 46 x 77 x 67 cm, Courtesy Galerie Bärbel Grässlin, Frankfurt am Main, Photo: Wolfgang Günzel, Offenbach.

GRAZ.- Tomorrow—a term that is as promising and hopeful as it is vague and elusive. Both utopian and dystopian. Tomorrow, everything could be "better" than today, and yet uncertainty remains. In the long term, nobody knows whether there will be any kind of a tomorrow for humankind. The title conveys the fundamentally conflicting tone of Herbert Brandl’s exhibition: the artist describes himself as a "passionate pessimist."

The Kunsthaus Graz exhibition centres on the artist’s associative, process-based way of working, interwoven as a convergence of the seen, the experienced and the imagined. Childhood memories and cartoons serve as impulses, as do his own photographs, television images, webcams and current images drawn from the internet. As traces they flow into the painting process, where they are condensed, abstracted or even erased. In response to our uncertain future, it comes as no surprise that a contemplative, almost apocalyptic dimension is also inscribed into Brandl’s solo show through the selection and presentation of his works. This exhibition brings together his most important groups of works—abstract and figurative painting, sculpture—as well as works by Edelgard Gerngross and Thomas Baumann. They are positioned in relation to one another and also to the space of the Kunsthaus, emphasizing their biographical, conceptual and material interconnections. Developed in collaboration with designer Rainer Stadlbauer, Brandl’s display is based on his reflections as an artist, translating these into a spatial, architectonic form.

Accompanying the Tomorrow exhibition there will be a limited edition artist’s book and a catalogue published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König. Both are based on books that Brandl has brought out for himself and a few friends almost annually in recent years, and which reveal his social and artistic interests. In My Instagram Diary and My Facebook Year, the artist uses his own photos and images from the internet. Drawing on these, a publication has been created for the Kunsthaus Graz that is in many ways exceptional. It traces how the exhibition evolved from the beginning of 2019 through to October 2020. Its images also link in with his exhibitions at Belvedere 21 in Vienna and at the Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien.

Herbert Brandl (*1959, lives in Vienna) studied under Herbert Tasquil and Peter Weibel at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. From 1985 to 1991 he taught in Vienna; from 2004 to 2019 he was a professor at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. His works have been shown at venues including the Biennale in Paris (1985), documenta IX in Kassel (1990), Neue Galerie Graz (1984, 2002), Kunsthalle Basel (1992), the Albertina in Vienna (2011), at Bank Austria Kulturforum, at the Kunsthalle Emden and at the Altana Kulturstiftung in Bad Homburg (all 2012) as well as the Franz Gertsch Museum in Burgdorf (2017). In 2007 Brandl represented Austria at the Venice Biennale. In 2020 his works can be seen at the Kunsthaus Graz, at the Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien and also Belvedere 21 in Vienna. The solo exhibitions at the three Austrian institutions are each accompanied by catalogues that together show the complexity of the artist’s oeuvre through to his most current works.

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