During his education, Stefan Pani not only focused on the practical aspects but also on the theoretical principles of painting. His works result from an intensive examination of the mechanisms of the modern art market. At the same time they portray a strong interest in iconographic issues.

In his first series "personal motives" Pani studies the reception and cultural connotation of images and narrative structures. The starting point is motifs from his personal life, which are dissociated from the original context and thus deprived of their initial meaning. Pani creates a completely new structure in his artwork by applying selective use of formal and pictorial means. Upon first glance his paintings seem harmonious. However, after taking a closer look they illicit confusion and unease.

The concept of "negative adaption" coined by Boris Groys is essential for the understanding of Pani’s work. Groys refers to the necessity of contrasting each new artwork to the traditional role models in order to meet the demand for innovation. Negative adaption is part of an ongoing process that re-evaluates existing values and renegotiates their thresholds.

The title of his exhibition "benchmark" in Vienna may be understood in this sense.  The Term “benchmarking” used in economics describes a method used to analyze and optimize the potential of a product by comparing it to the competitors’ offer.  This title is particularly fitting to a series of works in which Pani examines examples of negative adaption in artistic strategies by Anselm Kiefer, Jonathan Meese and Erwin Wurm. During this process he in turn attempts to undermine the claims of the before mentioned artists by use of appropriation and subversion.

In his latest series, Pani eventually develops his own symbolic imagery in order to visualize his ideas Pani’s young oeuvre is characterized by the methodical approach to the chosen theme and the consistent advancement of his approach. The complexity of the resulting compositions is only revealed upon closer inspection, and demands the viewer's willingness to look closely.

Andrea Neidhöfer, Art historian

born 1981 in Güssing.

Lives and works in Vienna.


2000 - 2009 Studied painting, animation film and tapestry at the University of Applied Arts Vienna under Prof. Attersee
2009 Diploma under Prof. Attersee


Solo exhibitions

2009 „benchmark", showroom for young art - Gallery Ulrike Hrobsky, Vienna
2010 „benchmark II", showroom fpr young art - Gallery Ulrike Hrobsky, Wien


Group exhibitions

2003 „Junge Lampen", Heiligenkreuzerhof, Vienna
  „Junger Wein", MAK, Vienna
2006 „Don Giovanni, Einer von uns", Ausstellungszentrum im Ringturm, Vienna
  „performativity goes business", Anorak Center, Vienna
2007 „Gold", Kunsthalle Projekt Space, Vienna
2008 „The Essence", MAK, Vienna
  „Junger Wein", MAK, Vienna
2009 „Zukunftsbilder", S Versicherung, Foyer Wipplingerstrasse, Vienna
  „Grosser Geist, bewahre uns!", Palais Kabelwerk, Vienna
2010 „Wallflower", Showroom der Galeie Ulrike Hrobsky, Vienna
2011 „REIGN OF ART Berlin“, Berlin