She explains: ‘I attended Michael Mount Waldorf Primary School in Bryanston. The Waldorf education addresses the child as no other education does and learning is imbued with life, and so with joy, which is the only true basis for later study. By the time they reach college and university level, students are grounded broadly and deeply. It’s a very liberated attitude to teaching, as influenced by the philosopher Rudolf Steiner.

‘During my years of study I worked in an art gallery in Johannesburg and reinforced my deep love of and interest in art, particularly the contemporary school. I began to see the world of art as being more rewarding than academia and I dropped out of university to become a full-time employee at the gallery, and eventually after six years was offered a 50 percent partnership. However, this never materialised so I took the decision to open up my own contemporary art gallery near my home in Bryanston at the Riverside Shopping Centre in 2013; this was the Candice Berman Fine Art Gallery, which will be five years old this year.

‘From the outset my focus was on establishing a really professional team and service to the clientele, and my master installer Isaac is key in this. I had already gained a fully professional insight into contemporary art and the leading artists that produce this in South Africa and this was my chosen direction. I didn’t want to promote realism like chocolate box landscapes and portraiture.

‘So contemporary art fascinates me, particularly Neo-Expressionist work and this is the focus at Berman Contemporary, the new gallery we opened in Alice Lane Sandton in late 2017. It’s the culmination of my personal development in art and the school I appreciate, but also from the observation of life in South Africa and the ongoing study of its social landscapes.

‘Neo-Expressionism is being pioneered by a number of South African artists, among which are two we promote: Daniel Stompie Selibi and John-Michael Metelerkamp. These are new voices in African art and their work is far from the duplications of previous artists’ renderings and the formulaic approach to modernism. It’s the vanguard of a new movement in which we try to develop the aesthetic as purely as possible, yet in an original way. And in original works that we see as investments.’

Candice Berman’s new gallery is aimed at bringing the contemporary art space back into the Sandton CBD. In the future she plans to showcase various elements from two-dimensional art to sculpture, installations and performance art. She adds: ‘My plan is to present art across the board – the complete picture.’

For the full article see Habitat #264 March / April 2018

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