Tarzan Informations Zentrum

{Prof. Carl Emanuel Wolff}

The World’s largest Walk-in Tarzan Sculpture
Zum Projekt von Johannes Gramm


Johannes Gramm's "Tarzan" has been designed according to the tradition of Conceptual Art. A bronze sculpture, approximately 4 metres high, stands in the middle of a forest. Tarzan's hands are shaped like a megaphone, ending in a small hole at the back of his head. Whoever searches or finds the sculpture can climb behind it and whisper, scream, proclaim or improvise love poems through this hole, anything is open to him. The sculpture's shape, size, material, title and site have been determined. The individual experience of the person encountering Tarzan will be emotional, playful and in its detail unforeseeable. Tarzan himself is common property, globally-known though young in his cultural history. The sculpture thus explains its provenance and shape without words. Its size, its material (bronze), its function and its forest situation in Essen Ruhr, are all special features.

The Sound Funnel
The universal question amongst those contemplating works of art, "what is its meaning?" can be answered in a form of a duet with Tarzan himself: The observer can make the sculpture speak or grunt, can make himself audible through it, even when he himself is the only listener. When there are two, one may talk to the other "through the flower" as the German proverb says, or in this case, "through the Tarzan".

The Site
"Tarzan" will be situated in a small wood clearing on a slope. These small bits of "jungle", easily accessible everywhere in Essen, are typical of the city and its inhabitants. When taking a walk, one can very quickly be alone and nearly all "Esseners" have their "sacred" places in these small oases. The Schiller fountain, the hunting rise in the Heissiwald and the meadow next to the S6 road by the "Kluse", are all such intimate places, unspectacular and therefore private and important. It will be in one such place where "Tarzan" will be located. He has not chosen the most beautiful slope in the Krupp forest, which would be enough in itself, but a more modest site. The sculpture is far enough from the nearest housing estate to prevent it from becoming a nois nuisance. It decidedly marks its own place.
Children having discovered “Tarzan” here, will make him a place of common experience: “Tomorrow at 5 by the Tarzan!” Adults will understand the intimate private history being created here. In 2104, people of Essen will meet in North Korea and find they have mutual origins by remembering Tarzan. It is highly probable that Tarzan will play his part in numerous future relationships.

Size and Material
At about 4 metres, the statue is not "very large". The average war memorial, equestrian statue, even the faceless "Zeitgeist" fountains from the 70s and 80s are higher, taller or more voluminous. They are, however, seen from a different perspective. Gazed upon from further away, the war memorial becomes "normal". Only in greater proximity it becomes gigantic, and the pedestal creates additional distance. Tarzan is physical like his observer and measured against him. Standing behind him, one is only half his size and can experience this fact physically: When I call through a body that is 4 metres high, I turn into the sculpture's child. Tarzan's size will thus be experienced in different ways: Human and small from far away, gigantic in physical proximity. Bronze as a material is the most common denominator for sculpture in a public space. Tarzan's message is that he wants to be a link in the chain of historic continuity. Such sculptures, accepted by their communities, develop shiny golden patches.

The Title "World's largest walk-in Tarzan sculpture"
The ironic twinkle in the title illustrates that the superlative is not the real point of the exercise, but rather the extent of the project's modesty. Size, usability, importance are all relative factors. Tarzan himself was a figure of art before he became a statue. The statement of being the world's largest, remains an artistic one, becoming different realities in the eye of the beholder.

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