“Without a model, you are nowhere. A nation that can’t make models is a nation that doesn’t understand things, a nation that doesn’t live,” said visionary artist Bodys Isek Kingelez (1948–2015). Based in then-Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), following its independence from Belgium, Kingelez made sculptures of imagined buildings and cities that reflected dreams for his country, his continent, and the world.
The first US retrospective of Kingelez’s work, the exhibition spans his full career, from early single-building sculptures, to spectacular sprawling cities, to futuristic late works, which incorporate increasingly unorthodox materials. These rarely shown works are a call for us all to imagine, in the artist’s words, a “better, more peaceful world.”
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Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams is on view until January 1, 2019 at The Museum of Modern Art. Learn more: mo.ma/kingelez
Special thanks to Dirk Dumon and Catello Verde.
Footage of Bodys Kingelez excerpted from the film “Kingelez, Kinshasa a City Rethought.”
The comments and opinions expressed in this video are those of the speaker alone, and do not represent the views of The Museum of Modern Art, its personnel, or any artist.