The Belgian artist brought with him the European influence and applied it to his art while studying at the Michaelis Institute of Art in Cape Town. Refusing to allow anyone to influence his style, he soon developed his own personal technique, creating sculptures and paintings that resembled European expressionism. His artworks were vehicles of expression against all forms of abuse of power.
His own childhood was heavily disrupted by the violent and traumatic happenings during German occcupation of Belgium during the Second World War. Both his parents were activists and were imprisoned, leaving a young Herman orphaned, having to care for himself.
He has always been a very hard worker, and shown a great talent as a cyclist, but an accident left him with a partially amputated hand, ending this possible career.
When accompanying a friend to an artist’s studio, Herman discovered his artistic talent, and became an assistant for artist Floris Jespers. This relationship played a major role in his formative years as an artist.
In Antwerp he spent six months as an assistant in the studio of the well-known painter Floris Jespers (1889-1965) who was wise enough not to instruct him but to allow him to choose the guidelines he wanted to follow.
Landscape, enamel on board, 45.5 x 56 cm
For the past 53 years, Herman has spend almost half of his life in ‘his beloved South Africa’, referring to himself a ‘Capie’. He is a very modest man, but has achieved much world fame; his work can be found in collections and museums across the globe.
His art today: Herman is still active as an artist, both in making sculptures and oil paintings. For the 2008 Olympic Games, he was asked by the Chinese government to be a participating artist. He has also been involved in numerous exhibitions held in Belgium, and other areas of Europe. His last oil painting, ‘Charlie’, comments on the Charlie Hebdo shooting in France in 2015. Herman’s artistic drive is towards minimalism, “weglating”, best illustrated in the latest prints.
How to interpret his work: Most of his paintings and sculptures are reduced to faceless pawns. There is a loss of identity, which creates anonymity, and thereby the human being becomes universal. The individual makes room for man in general, the carrier of abstract entities like aggression, anxiety, loneliness and bitterness and despair. His art is about the extrication of the superfluous, creating the possibilities for deeper meaning.
MOK Gallery is proud to host a permanent exhibition of Herman’s paintings and sculptures. He often surprises us with a visit to the gallery, which usually leads to lunch at Muratie’s intimate restaurant – eating his favourite samosas, and drinking a bottle of Muratie Pinot Noir. Herman loves simplicity and authenticity, making Muratie Wine Estate one of his favourite places, and chose to have his sculptures and art on permanent display there.
From 20 June to 16 August MOK will exhibit a full body of Herman’s works in the main gallery. His sculptures can be found in Muratie’s gardens. For more information, please contact Cecile Blevi at 0725535547 or email@example.com