Skip to Content
Showing 1 of 1


German, b. 1951


Wood, metal, and electronics
144 x 180 x 180 in. (365.76 x 457.2 x 457.2 cm)
Gift of the Marie Eccles Caine Foundation

Trimpin is a kinetic sculptor, sound artist, and musician whose sonic sculptures have been exhibited around the world. Klompen, first created in 1986, is a playful and sophisticated combination of wooden shoes and electronic components. The version in the NEHMA collection is a more recent iteration, driven by updated technology and visitor activated. Comprising 120 wooden clogs connected by concealed wires to a computer and suspended from the ceiling, this sculpture embodies Trimpin’s careful attention to the interplay of sight, sound, and movement.

Inserting a coin, the user triggers a precomposed percussion sequence stored on a small computer processor. A second microprocessor sends electrical signals through cables, energizing electromagnets placed in the clogs. The magnets force wooden mallets to strike the interiors, generating a different rhythmic sound pattern each time a visitor engages the sculpture.

Trimpin’s composing process involves inventing notation systems as well as making the objects on which his music is performed. Klompen’s clogs are as exactingly crafted as any musical instrument. Each one has a specific timbre, or sound quality, representing a different note in the composition. Wood type and thickness, shoe and cavity size, and small cuts on the surface (used for tuning) all determine the specific sound of the clog.

Adapting traditional objects to new technologies, Trimpin’s sculptures challenge our expectations of function and engage our senses in new ways. Trimpin counts as early influences artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci, jazz virtuosos George Lewis and Anthony Braxton, and kinetic sculptor Jean Tinguely.

Robin Held

Exhibition List
This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Also found in
Click a portfolio name to view all the objects in that portfolio
This object is a member of the following portfolios:

Your current search criteria is: Portfolio is "Collecting on the Edge Part II" and [Objects]Artist is "Trimpin".

This site facilitates access to the art and artifact collections by providing digitally searchable records for thousands objects. The information on these pages is not definitive or comprehensive. We are regularly adding artworks and updating research online. We welcome your comments.