Bodys Isek Kingelez
Bodys Isek Kingelez’s
sculpture Ville Fantôme makes physical the artist’s private vision of
his home city of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This
painstakingly fabricated sculpture is inspired by the actual city’s
architecture in combination with the artist’s subjective perception of
the real. Like a traditional architectural model, Ville Fantôme appears
to represent something existing or that could exist; this characteristic
connects the model to our world. Ville Fantôme references Kinshasa not
only through visual analogies, but also through its materials —bottle
caps, corrugated cardboard, tinfoil—taken directly from this urban
environment. These found materials speak to the urban nature of the
city and also to the practice of recycling prevalent in economically
Bodys Isek Kingelez, Ville Fantôme, 1996, paper, plastic, and cardboard, 3 ft. 11 ¼ in. x 18 ft. 8 ¼ in. x 7 ft. 10 ½ in. (installation view detail with Franz Ackermann gouaches in background)
Bodys Isek Kingelez, Ville Fantôme, 1996, paper, plastic, and cardboard, 3 ft. 11 ¼ in. x 18 ft. 8 ¼ in. x 7 ft. 10 ½ in. (installation view detail)
Since 1989, Bodys Isek Kingelez’s work has been featured in international group exhibitions, including Magiciens de la Terre, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1989); Out of Africa, Saatchi Gallery, London (1992); Cocido y Crudo, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (1994); Big City: Artists from Africa, Serpentine Gallery, London (1995); Projects 59: Architecture as Metaphor, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 97 Kwangju Biennale: Unmapping the Earth, and Trade Routes: History and Geography. 2nd Johannesburg Biennale (1997); and Unfinished History, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1998), which traveled to Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1999). Solo exhibitions of Kingelez’s work have been presented at Jean-Marc Patras Galerie, Paris (1990); Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (1992); Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (1995); and Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva (1996).
Trade Routes: History and Geography. 2nd Johannesburg Biennale, South Africa (1997). Exhibition catalogue, text by Hou Hanru.
Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. Bodys Isek Kingelez (1995). Exhibition catalogue, texts by André Magnin, Bodys Isek Kingelez, and Ettore Sottsass.
Serpentine Gallery, London. Big City: Artists from Africa (1995). Exhibition catalogue, text by Bodys Isek Kingelez.
Museum for African Art, New York. Home and the World: Architectural Sculpture by Two Contemporary African Artists, Aboudramane and Bodys Isek Kingelez (1993). Exhibition catalogue, texts by Jean-Marc Patras and David Frankel.