Manuela Karin Knaut, born in 1970 in Germany, lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa, as a freelance artist. Master of Arts studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. She studied Art Education (with a focus on Painting and Museum Education) at the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen (Germany) and worked as a museum educator, author, university lecturer and art teacher in public schools. Manuela has been a member of the BBK, the Professional Association of Fine Artists in Germany since 2003 and is a member of the Association Internationale des Arts Plastiques which is in official relations with UNESCO.
Manuela Knaut’s work has been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions since 1990 as well as art performances all over Europe and further abroad, including La Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Cachan (France), Turbine Art Fair (Johannesburg, South Africa), Kunsthalle Cloppenburg, Community Center Art Gallery, Kiryat Tivon (Israel), Kyrgyz National Museum of Fine Art (Bishkek, Kyrgyztan), Galerie VorOrtOst Leipzig, Palais Rastede, Museum of the Town of Bad Hersfeld, Ostrale / International Exhibition of Contemporary Arts (Dresden), Kunstsalon Schopenhauer (Frankfurt on the Main), Galerie Artlantis (Bad Homburg), Galerie Jaeschke (Braunschweig). Her work is found in public and private collections worldwide.
I am a seeker of objects, a collector, a player. Unfortunately messy, always searching, always in the midst of it – always where it’s at. Curious, sometimes brave, mostly careful and always willing to look beneath the surface. I was washed up into the middle of Johannesburg, into the epicentre of South African daily madness, still surprised but deeply thankful for what I can see, smell, read, soak up every day. I am interested in people: mama holding her kid’s hand,these loud groups of seemingly overenthusiastic youths; the tiny, sad looking girl by the side of the road. The security guard, the fruit seller, the photographer I met recently. The old neighbour who now lives in an old people’s home. I collect their stories. The newspaper seller at the junction, I talk with him every day. What is it that moves you? What makes you happy? What is home for you, for me – so far on the other side of the world. Is there such a thing as one, true happiness? What does loss mean, and – so close to life – what if death suddenly becomes real?
I collect. Every day I collect stories, memories, I collect images – in my head, with my camera. In many boxes, with many seemingly chaotic piles I sort, connect, join new stories, faces with the impressions life has so far gifted me. I walk through this, my, life with open eyes – knowing that no-one else could see it like this, love it like this, experience it like I do.