Material / technique: Tractor with machine sculpture on top: scrap iron, wooden wheels, barrels, rubbish pail, garden gnome, various percussion instruments
Size: 315 x 660 x 315 cm
Catalog: Bischofberger 0554
Creditline: Museum Tinguely, Basel, Donation Niki de Saint Phalle
“Klamauk“ was created in 1979 for the exhibition Tinguely-Luginbühl at Frankfurt’s Städel Museum.
Together with “Safari de la Mort Moscovite“, “Klamauk” forms a group of mobile sculptures typical of Tinguely’s oeuvre. “Klamauk“ originally had a counterpart, “Radau“, which however only drove through Biel for a few days in 1980 and was then dismantled. The third planned tractor, “Krawall”, was never built. “Safari” was then created ten years after “Klamauk”.
The driving, noise-making, smoking, stinking, firecracker-exploding tractor “Klamauk” embodies Jean Tinguely’s oeuvre more than almost any other work. From the moment of its creation in 1979 and with several appearances at various mountain races, it became the trademark of the iron sculptor.
The elements of a sound sculpture are mounted here atop an old tractor. Bells, cymbals, pots and barrels are struck, developing in conjunction with the striking background noise of the powerful tractor motor the accidental melody of the “Méta-Harmonies”. Added to this are firecrackers and smoke bombs ignited by the driver (a risky enterprise), which with their loud bangs and stench lend the driving sound sculpture an apocalyptic note. Death is a passenger on the joyrides taken by the whimsical “Klamauk”. It was no accident that Tinguely chose to drive the tractor down the raceway in 1981 on the occasion of the memorial ceremony in St. Ursanne for Jo Siffert, the great Swiss Formula 1 race car driver and friend of the iron sculptor, who lost his life in a crash on 24 October 1971.
“Klamauk” also accompanied Jean Tinguely on his last drive, the parade through Fribourg on the occasion of the artist’s funeral on 4 September 1991.