Manuela Holzer

Manuela Holzer’s use of the unconventional sculptural medium of melted black refuse bags entices the viewer to contemplate the value we assign to human emotions.   The sculpture by Holzer, entitled Isolated Shadow (2016) formed part of her Master’s exhibition at the University of Stellenbosch.  


Manuela Holzer was born on the 3rd of December 1990 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The artist is the first of her family to be born in South Africa, as the rest of her family originated from, most whom still reside in Austria. After matriculating from the Deutsche Internationale Schule Johannesburg she decided to enrich and deepen her passion for art. Subsequently, she proceeded to study at the University of Witwatersrand where she completed her Bachelor in Fine Art in 2012. Furthermore, in 2013 she completed her Post Graduate Certificate in Education at the University of Johannesburg. Thereafter, Holzer moved to the Western Cape to study further and received a Master’s degree in Visual Art from the University of Stellenbosch in 2016. Currently, Holzer continues to reside in the Western Cape and spends her time creating sculptures of female figures that reflect her internal struggles.


Her Master’s dissertation entitled “Investigating the Human Condition through the Sculpted Figure” and the resulting Nude Existence and Shadow Series, examined the expression of the human condition through the sculpted medium, in particular the notion of the shadow as theorised in the writings of Plato, Friedrich Nietzsche and Carl Jung, as well as Jean-Paul Sartre’s writings on existentialism. Issues of self-doubt, insecurity, and anxiety are explored in her works, as well as trying to grapple with the fundamental questions of the human condition, the human psyche and the use of the human form to express these narratives of singular and collective anguish through the sculpted body.  


Holzer is currently represented by the Candice Berman Gallery, and selected works from her Master’s exhibition are exhibited at the 2017 Cape Town Art Fair.