In recent years, we have seen a rise in the popularity of lens-based paintings and sculptures. Simon Lehner is one of a few Austrian young artists working within this medium. Drawing from personal archives of photo albums and videos, Lehner creates unique pieces that blend classical photography, digital production, painting and kinetic sculpture. With a promising future ahead, Simon Lehner is definitely an artist to keep an eye on.


Simon Lehner is an Austrian artist whose unique style and thought-provoking works have garnered significant attention in the art world. Born in Wels in 1996, he explores themes of memory, toxic masculinity, mental health, and autobiographical construction.




Blurring the boundaries between traditional painting and contemporary technology, Simon takes a critical look at the impact of media on our collective pictorial memory and the effects it has on our psyche. Let’s have a short glimpse into his works.


‘I love you like an image’ Show

In his first institutional solo exhibition in Germany, Lehner uses his unique style to establish a connection between the mass media flood of images and our psychic inner life. His latest works reveal the contents of a collective digital unconscious.

Three new paintings, a large-scale video installation, two wooden sculptures and the first animatronic sculpture can be seen on the ground floor of the Kunstpalais.



‘Echo figure’ is an animatronic sculpture and an integral piece in the larger body of work ‘I’m a liar, but a good one.’ The artwork explores how our collective memory forms engrams through repeated media imagery, leading to shared data trauma. Simon uses digital techniques to create a sculpture based on personal photographs, bringing it to life in the physical world.

Kunstpalais, Stadt Erlangen, Germany.
On view until 2 July.




‘I‘m a liar, but a good one’, 2021–ongoing

The project tackles questions of memory, truth, and authorship. While classical photography is notably absent, the wall objects and animations showcase a striking resemblance to painting techniques. The interplay between different mediums creates a unique and captivating experience for viewers.



Lehner’s works draw heavily from his personal experiences, particularly his childhood and youth, which are documented in photographs. Those serve as the basis for artistic process that involves the interplay between memory and consciousness.


Alter egos, petrol stations, caves, tables, and televisions. These themes are combined into various two- or three-dimensional surfaces. Finally, a robot paints the surfaces, resulting in a distinctive and visually striking artwork.



The mind is a voice, the voice is blind, 2019–21

The work examines the cognitive dialogue between memories and the conscious. It reflects on domestic and emotional violence, trauma and mental health.



It’s structured as a series and designed as an installation that combines various media. It includes lens-based animated videos with a 3D character who represents Simon’s ten-year-old alter ego, his childhood room as well as lens-based sculptures — all of which were also generated from the personal archive through various digital reconstruction methods.




First ever (Mom and me), 2020

Based on the calculated data from the original archive image, every pixel is extracted and forms the shape of the piece. It took Lehner nearly 2 years to finish this piece due to the difficult production process – both algorithmic and manufacturing-wise.


First ever, (Mom and Me) 1996 – 2021 from Simon Lehner on Vimeo.




Cover images: Worldstarz, 2022, Acrylic on unique foam plate lens-based CNC Painting, Connect strings.
Image 2: ‘Image Basterds VI’, 2023, Acrylic on unique wood plate – lens-based CNC painting
Image 3: Echo figure (Gray matter cycle), 2023. Silicone, Motor, Resin, Aluminium, Laquer.
Image 4: Sons & Critics, (2005 – 2021)
Image 5: Demon Dayz & Feel good inc. (2005-2021)
Image 6-7: Video: Archive Material Selfportrait, (2005-2020), 3D Animation Video, loop, 2020
Video 8: First ever, (Mom and me), 1996-2021

(c) Simon Lehner