The exhibition "24/7" (Twenty-four/Seven) at Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien (KM– Graz) focuses on Herbert Brandl's fundamental artistic approach to painting. Painting is examined here not only in terms of its nature and its circumstances, but rather as one medium among many, which in addition to fundamental compositional and tactical considerations, leads to an interest in the intermediate. With "24/7" it becomes clear that Brandl's artistic orientation and positioning lie in his ongoing preoccupation with art, and his particular interest in conceptual strategies for dealing with painting, dating back to his early youth. On closer inspection of the work as developed over decades, it becomes clear that Brandl derives his painting from the conceptual art of the 1970s and its questioning of the concept of the work, of anti-form, and the unceasing play with art and being an artist. This is contrasted by other readings that delight in formal mastery and even “sublime” pictorial forms, which may well be self-evident, but (mis)lead into confusion. Behind all the alleged pictorial power of various realistic or abstract "subjects" and their "images," which are clearly legible at first glance, lie perceptions and phantasmagorias that refer to an idea and its realization beyond what is depicted - which could be what makes "good" painting and its "politics." However, the exhibition does not aim to transfigure the artist into a conceptualist: Rather, the show seeks to name the conceptual starting point of his artworks. It is precisely this starting point that enables a thoroughly emotional and intuitive play with criteria associated with the medium, such as composition, hatching, texture, etc., in the concrete painting process and inspires Brandl's incredible feeling for colorfulness and depth to the finished work.
By presenting two significant, contrasting cycles in the exhibition “24/7” using techniques that are related to or expand upon painting, these are investigated from the margins, which paradoxically leads to condensed and thus convincing painterly results. His last cycle of works from 2020 consisting of 24 monotypes (unique, original prints of a painting) is juxtaposed with an earlier cycle of 7 ink works in shades of black from the late 1980s, each of which seems to be painting, but is not – or is it? The presentation of the works, none of which has been shown previously, is exhibited in a hanging scheme that plays with the late modern "white cube" architecture of the exhibition building.
An accompanying catalog at Koenig Books (London) and an extensive program of art education and discursive formats round off the project "Herbert Brandl. 24/7."