Herbert Brandl was born in Graz in 1959. Today he is an essential figure in Austrian painting. His painting has roots, like many other German painters of his generation, such as Günther Förg, Martin Kippenberger or Helmut Dorner, in the Expressionism. But it is Austrian expressionist painting, such as Richard Gertl’s, Egon Schiele’s and Oskar Kokoschka’s, the one that sparked a new interest in the 1980s in Vienna.
His early works take from Gertl their concentric movements, sometimes abruptly interrupted in his gesture. Then, his painting unfolds more and more, the lines go through the canvas and the first lines appear, almost trying to lose support on the surface of the canvas.The gaze taken to American painting cannot be ignored, but it is quite far from the artist’s own concerns.
The particularity of his works is the attempt to trap light in a soft and open network of painting. The image is never fixed, even having a priori all the elements to read it. We are almost submerged in the landscape, where the eye and the body in movement redefine the image we have with each displacement. This mobility resists, for example, the implicit fixation on Gerard Richter’s painting. The landscape is the source of the existent, is not the status of its reality that matters (Is it a photograph or a painting?), but rather an indecision (Is it a landscape?).
In this sense, Brandl’s painting is existential. It does not violate the necessary relationship between the plot of reality, lived by the painter, and his chance in the process of creation. There is always an event, a perception, a sensation at the origin of his paintings, even if the indecisive abstraction they present allows us to identify their origin.