Stefan Panhans

„If A Store Clerk Gave Me Too Much Change”
video HDV, 15 min, 2009


The static continuous shot reveals a strange space - a condemned flat, a room with peeling plaster threatening to fall off and a torn floor covering, a weak houseplant next to some kind of shelf with a motorbike helmet. A van Gogh poster and a star-cut puzzle from the US TV series "Heroes" hang on the wall. A temporary place to stay, a transit or emergency shelter somewhere in the middle of nowhere. A bed made of straw bales stands in the middle of the room, on which lies wrapped in a microfibre sleeping bag, her face bizarrely made up in the style of the rock band Kiss a person who has nested in her temporary sleeping quarters. But there is no thought of a well-deserved sleep.

The stranger constantly tosses and turns, moaning, whispering, hissing or screaming like a man possessed into the empty space and from time to time in the direction of the viewer. It is a breathless chanting of self-optimisation, fancy careers and leisure in the age of late capitalism. A confused stream of consciousness about Far Eastern philosophies, about balance, relaxation and concentration, tax tips on deducting the cost of washing work clothes, comments on the hip social network world of Facebook, where private and professional life get along so wonderfully. Plus, some ambiguous wisdom and sayings from the manager textbook: "You can change your life every day. Today would be a good day!"


Stefan Panhans lives and works in Hamburg, Berlin and other places. With his filmic, performative, photographic and installation works, he undertakes an artistic examination of the growing hypermediatisation and digitalisation, their effects on our society, our behaviour of our psyche and body, as well as the compulsion for self-optimisation and the increasing precariousness of working conditions.

His work has been shown in many solo and group exhibitions, including the NRW Forum Düsseldorf, the Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin, Addis Ababab, St. Sebastian, the ACME Studios in London and the Steierischer Herbst in Graz. He has been awarded international art prizes and received several scholarships.