Vienna, eSeL and the Arts

Installation „Endless Pets“ von Andrea Heyer im Artist-Run-Space „Raumstation“, 2018

“Endless Pets” installation by Andrea Heyer at the artist-run space “Raumstation”, 2018 © eSeL

He’s not sure about the term “artist”. He prefers to say: “I do projects.” Understatement, a social instinct, and a hint of “enthusiasm meets cultivated madness”. What makes him special? Lorenz Seidler was born in 1974 and is best known under his moniker “eSeL”, which is how his initials are pronounced (it is also the German word for donkey). He is ubiquitous on the Vienna art scene, which he knows better than anyone. After all, eSeL documents and photographs everything from museums, conferences, readings and performances to the most out of the way artist-run spaces, from super-high to super-low. Around 10,000 subscribers read and follow his weekly newsletter, which has been around for 25 years. Humour is the constant companion of this effervescent impresario, whose creed is “I’m a rogue, after all”. Now this man, probably the most out-there chronicler of the Viennese and Austrian art scenes, has compiled and commented on selected images from his extensive collection for Dorotheum myART MAGAZINE. Photos & Statements: eSeL

Selbstporträt mit Linz09-Shirt für steirischer Herbst Kabarett, 2022 © eSeL


His creed is to accept ambiguities and recognise that the world (and the art in it) is not black and white – just like the grey coat of his namesake.

Self-portrait with Linz09-shirt for the Styrian
autumn cabaret, 2022

Telling stories with photographs in the swiping era: since 2018, eSeL has often added sketches and notes to his photographs before publication. This one shows the courtyard of Vienna’s Museumsquartier during the 2013 ImPulsTanz festival.

Rasen im MuseumsQuartier-Innenhof beim ImPulsTanz-Festival, 2013 @ eSeL

The lawn inside the MuseumsQuartier at the ImPulsTanz-Festival, 2013 © eSeL

Cross-community party power.

Belvedere Summer Festival 2022: EsRap concert under the umbrella cap of Maruša Sagadin, 2022 © eSeL

This kind of opulent press breakfast right under an action painting by Nitsch could only happen at Dorotheum >;e). The photo is part of eSel’s “Fest route”, which is on show at the MAK exhibition “THE FEST” until May 2023. 

Pressekonferenz VIENNA ART WEEK im Dorotheum, 2019

VIENNA ART WEEK press conference at Dorotheum, 2019 © eSeL

Vienna’s smartest band of lads knows how to get its audience to participate and collaborate.

Gelatin bzw. Gelitin im Ferdinandeum, 2021

Gelatin or rather Gelitin in the Ferdinandeum, 2021 © eSeL

eSeL at Essl: “The eSeL Collection” used flyers and photos to explore the transformation of the art scene since the early days of eSeL and Essl (which, as luck would have it, started out at the same time).

“The eSeL Collection”, Poster design (Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg). 2016
(photo: Marian Essl, graphic: Johanna Uhlmann)

Willi Dorner’s performers explore nooks and crannies at the Westbahnhof.

“Fitting in” by CIE Willie Dorner at the Tanzquartier Wien at the Westbahnhof, 2012 © eSeL

The freedom inherent in the art of the Secession combined with bodies choreographed by Doris Uhlich made for balmy summer evenings (and a reliably aroused the tabloid press).

“Seismic Vibrations” by Doris Uhlich on the scaffolding of the Secession at the ImPulsTanz-Festival, 2017 © eSeL

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