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.