Book look: Essl Museum

“Eine kleine Machtmusik” is a play on words and the name of an exhibition currently on at the Essl Museum in Klosterneuburg near Vienna.
Rene Block chose the unusual title which refers to “A little serenade” or “A little night music”, one of the most famous tunes by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the legendary Austrian composer of classical music. While the original title of Mozart’s composition is “Eine kleine Nachtmusik”, “Macht” means “might” in German. Speaking to the directors of the Essl Museum, Karlheinz and Agnes Essl, Block admits that he felt “overwhelmed and powerless” by the vastness of their collection.

Karlheinz Essl asked Block to organise an exhibit based on the pieces of art the museum’s storage offers. In his introducing words for the catalogue, Essl reveals why Block named the exhibit “Eine kleine Machtmusik”. The catalogue – now out and on sale at the museum’s gift shop – includes lots of information about Block and his intentions. The long conversation which German art expert and former head of the Kunsthalle Fridericianum Kassel held with Karlheinz and Agnes Essl is part of the catalogue – as well as a reproduction of all the objects Block picked for the varied exhibition.

As part of “Eine kleine Machtmusik”, paintings and installations by Arnulf Rainer and Hermann Nitsch are on display. Furthermore, visitors get to see renowned Viennese photographer Heinz Cibulka’s documentation of one of Nitsch’s so-called painting events. Paintings by Christian Ludwig Attersee and Maria Lassnig were considered by Block as well. While Lassnig’s paintings became famous across the globe only recently, little is known about her creative output as a sculptor. Block did not forget to portray Lassnig this way as well – and picked some sculptures by Lassnig, now on display at the Essl Museum alongside objects created by Erwin Wurm.

Eine kleine Machtmusik. Bericht aus dem Depot.
By Rene Block
Published by the Essl Museum (

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