Galería Ehrhardt Flórez


  • Herbert Brandl

Matterhorn reise

21/01/2017 - 11/03/2017
Herbert Brandl, Matterhorn Reise (2017), installation view.
Herbert Brandl, Matterhorn Reise (2017), installation view.
Herbert Brandl, Matterhorn Reise (2017), installation view.
Herbert Brandl, Matterhorn Reise (2017), installation view.

An obsession with certain natural phenomena and the construction of myths and iconic images of legendary sites have their clearest beginnings in Romanticism. Thus the dissolution of the harmonious schemes of the aesthetic canon and the sudden emergence of the sublime as a way to approach that which had no measure establish, through Romanticism, a new vision and a new relation of man in the face of nature’s immensity.

In this sense, the painting of Herbert Brandl (Graz, 1959) has developed formulas under the protection and resonance of these sources; nature as the inspiration for painting and the storm, the sky, water and the mountain as its subject – a subject that is not only a reference or a visual reflection of that which is painted but, as pointed out by Georges Bataille in reference to the painting of Manet, it is its obliteration that makes the subject painting itself. Far from the absence of meaning seemingly posed by Bataille, however, in Brandl painting becomes a mountain and the mountain becomes painting.
From the phenomenology of nature, its dynamism and continuous and unpredictable change, Brandl fashions a technique, a mode and a subject. Nature and its transition to painting purified in light, colour and contemplation is ultimately the background on which a whole body of painting has been developed and of which the subject itself brings into question certain visual codes of sterile contemporary painting with its division of figurations and abstractions.

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Brandl’s eye, driven by his swift hand and rapid execution, traditionally captured the attention of the spectator with enormous masses of colour that with certain reflections, lights and transitions formed abstract fields of paint that sometimes allowed the original motifs of the work to be devised. But now, in his sixth exhibition at the Heinrich Ehrhardt Gallery, these general aspects of his painting, which can also be extrapolated to the generality of the subject of his painting, understood as nature in its entirety, change subtly to become much more concrete. In the series of works being shown, the natural world in general arrives at the singular of a specific mountain. The iconic vision of the Matterhorn rises like a firm figure on the sky and its defined silhouette with its sharp black outline and its rigid contours of peaks and ridges now replace the backgrounds of his earlier painting.

The Matterhorn not only constitutes a mythical mountain in the collective imagination, but also an autobiographical reference for Brandl, representing his first contemplations of painting and the mountain. It is presented with dark edges set against neutral backgrounds, pristine whites, thick blues and greys that are far from indefinite masses of colour and from which the peak emerges and rises in a form that captures in the painting everything that is the mountain: snow, cold, light and blizzard. That temperature, in the climate of his painting, is where the Matterhorn now resides. Form and subject as sensation.

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