For me, getting inspired means getting to where the action takes place. I can always be found where things are happening, preferably in the place furthest removed from my comfort zone.
––Manuela Karin Knaut
Braunschweig, Germany-based artist Manuela Karin Knaut creates large-scale expressionist paintings full of chaotic, colorful movement. Her playful works express curiosity through visual surprise and frenzy. Knaut is best known for her paintings and art installations, but also focuses on collages, photography, and sculpture.
Knaut received a Master of Arts in Fine Art at the University of the Witswatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her paintings are informed by travel, discovery, and adventure. She draws inspiration from accidental art found in the outside world; the colorful leftovers of old graffiti, framed by wall cracks and trash. Knaut’s works embody the place beyond her comfort zone––it is in the discomfort, the brokenness, the rough edges of life where Knaut finds inspiration and interest. On a smaller scale, Knaut is stimulated by everyday encounters, the exchanges and gestures which make us human. The people of her everyday, the people with whom she can speak directly, the people who teach her compassion through difference become her art masters––the woman she met on the plane, the neighbour who moved to an old people’s home, the newspaper seller who stands at the traffic light. Her process involves time and working in layers, over and over: painting, spraying, contouring, re-painting. She incorporates paper and fabric scraps, text, and found objects into her colorful cosmos. In the same manner that she deliberately creates, she deliberately stops, giving the piece space to breathe before it is signed.
Knaut is a member of the Bund Bildender Künstler (German Association of Visual Artists), the Association Internationale des Arts Plastiques, and the Visual Arts Network of South Africa. In addition to her studio and print workshop in Braunschweig, Knaut also keeps a studio in Johannesburg. She has been exhibited internationally since 1990 and her works are represented in public and private collections.