Voglio vedere le mie montagne

The new TREVISION production hall is beside the autobahn in Großhöflein shortly before the Burgenland provincial capital. The façade of the company's new building by Querkraft Architects is a 280 m² art exhibition space facing the autobahn. A 5m high and over 56m wide cinemascope stretches like a panorama over flat fields which meet at an endless remote horizon.

museum in progress has been using the CALSI large format picture technology from Beko and TREVISION since 1993. The large-format pictures on the façade of the Kunsthalle Vienna on Karlsplatz formed part of the Vienna urban landscape: Ed Ruscha's "17th Century – 20th Century", Walter Obholzer's "20 Fleck", Gerhard Richter's "River", Douglas Gordon's "raise the dead" and most recently Ken Lum's "There is no place like home" are permanently engraved on the memories of the urban population. A good reason for TREVISION to use the perception turbo on their own building.

The Austrian painter Herbert Brandl, himself a master of extreme picture sizes and an enthusiastic experimenter, has chosen a subject for the radical format of the large-scale picture producer which is both unruly and fascinating at the same time: a colossal mountain – the respectable Annapurna in the Himalayas – rises from the lowland plain. The doubly reflected original image multiplies itself into a mountain range which ploughs through the gentle green sea of crops and obstructs the view of the landscape.

Mountains are always somehow in the way. "Down with the Alps – an unobstructed view of the Mediterranean" demanded young traumatised Swiss in 1980. Such contemptible disregard can of course only come from people for whom strength and magnificence, the sublime and unconquerable mean nothing. However, the not inconsiderable rest of the population remains in emphatic amazement at Kodak Point snapping away until they are unconscious at pictures of the most popular of all snapshots, the high mountains.

Herbert Brandl has been painting mountains for about two years. Giant formats which are installed in spaces through which one wanders as through a landscape. Brandl has exchanged the convention of abstraction for what is for him a new realism. Like almost no other motif, with their mass, their morphology, with their immeasurable heights, slopes and depths, with their dark shadows and dazzling light, the mountains are suited to test possible forms of painting, to find another approach and, as Herbert Brandl lets us know, to gain some distance from abstract painting. "This painting seeks its deliverance in an inferno of trivial representationalism, so to speak," commented Peter Weibl on Brandl's experimental order between a formula for pathos and a picture experiment. Brandl has always combined the circumstance of painting with critical reflection on the medium. New experiences arise from the fundamentalism which is a part of representation and which the artist will draw on during the course of the expansion of his work.

Herbert Brandl's offered perception to the fundamental model for our society in terms of civilisation, the car driver, is full of wit and irony. The mountain as an anti-concept of modern life meets the motorway which – at least before the invention of the information highway – stood for speed, movement and change. The navigators at the wheel will be irritated, unsure whether they are being deceived by a fata morgana or a hologram. They will take a deep breath and drive on. – And Herbert Brandl's pictures are always to be breathed in deeply.