MoMA Retrospective Showcases Architectural Models of Bodys Isek Kinglez

Installation view of Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, May 26, 2018–January 1, 2019. © 2018 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Denis Doorly

As the first U.S. retrospective of the late Congolese sculptor Bodys Isek Kinglez, the Museum of Modern Art’s newest exhibition showcases the visionary artist’s expansive range of works, which incorporate unorthodox materials—colored paper, commercial packaging, and repurposed objects from everyday life—to create imaginative architectural sculptures and cityscapes.

© Pierre Schwartz ADAGP; courtesy Musée International des Arts Modestes (MIAM)

© Bodys Isek Kingelez / Photo: Maurice Aeschimann. Courtesy CAAC – The Pigozzi Collection

The self-trained artist is celebrated for creating “extreme maquettes” to explore questions around urban growth, economic inequity, and the rehabilitative power of architecture. “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 Kingelez. On view through January 1, 2019, City Dreams spans the sculptor’s full 30-year career, featuring his early single-building sculptures, as well as his sprawling cities and futuristic late works.

Photograph by Kleinefenn

© Bodys Isek Kingelez / Photo: Maurice Aeschimann. Courtesy CAAC – The Pigozzi Collection

Vacillating between whimsical representations of civic buildings, public monuments, and private pavilions to dramatic creations of colossal cityscapes, the meticulously made architectural models depict a medley of architectural styles, both fictitious and familiar, to imagine a utopian metropolis.

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