March 9, 2022 – February 24, 2023

“In our soul there lies the power of longing with creative intensity.”
(Arnold Schönberg, Human Rights, 1947)

Among Viennese contemporaries who were conducting interdisciplinary research into states of the soul around the year 1900, Arnold Schönberg focused his artistic activities on the exploration of new forms of expression and also on resonances from the inside of the subject. The composer defined his creative work as an interplay of conscious logic, intuitive sense of form and unconscious sentiments, as a trial of strength between construction and the illumination of inner processes.

By removing himself from composing conventions, he advanced into new structural and world-view hemispheres, and strove to attain the utmost unreality beyond the aesthetics that reproduced reality. In the multifaceted topography of the artist’s soul, Schönberg was able to recognize a “wild, mysterious landscape, with its terrifying depths and ravines,” and next to them, “bright, pleasant, sunny meadows and idyllic resting places.” (Letter to Gustav Mahler, 1904) One key responsibility of the artist was identified by Schönberg as the process of revelation, opening up organs of perception “that penetrate the supersensuous. Our soul should be this eye.” (Lecture on Gustav Mahler, 1912)

The soul experiences aesthetic transformations in Schönberg’s music, painting and writings. In the exhibition, music manuscripts, paintings and drawings, letters and photographs form a circuit of exhibit items that indicate the ensouled nature of the artistic and intellectual world of this versatile creator.

How do the emanations of the soul sound in the mind of the composer? Using digitally animated scores, and therefore with synchronous tracking of image and sound, items from the archives come to life in the exhibition. The written immaterial imagery is unveiled in music, or quite generally the density of interpretation in musical notation is revealed in a visualization of unnameable sound concepts. Inner and outer world come together in sound.

Curator: Therese Muxeneder
Architecture: Jochen Koppensteiner
Digital Realization: Christoph Edtmayr

Opening Hours
Monday – Friday 10 am to 5 pm
closed on legal holidays

Entrance fee
Adults: € 6
senior citizens, visitors with a disability card/assistance: € 3,00
Visitors with Vienna City Card: € 4,80
Members of Club Ö1, Ö1 intro, mdw club: € 5,40

Free admission
children and young people 26 and under

Selected items are available as an Online Exhibition.

Press kit (pdf)

Press photos: