MAGNIN-A

PIERRE BODO



Né en 1953 à Mandu, République Démocratique du Congo.
Vit et travaille à Kinshasa. 

En 1970, Pierre Bodo s'installe à Kinshasa et prend part, en 1978, à la fameuse exposition « Art Partout » qui révèle au grand public la peinture populaire zaïroise dont il est l'une des principales figures. Il affirme alors avec vigueur et sincérité sa foi en la capacité de créer un art capable de changer le cours de l'histoire. Ses œuvres sont tour à tour : chronique, pamphlet, manifeste, revendication ou conseil. Il est peintre dit populaire. Au début des années 90, il change considérablement son style afin « d'exprimer ses grandes idées personnelles ». Ses buts sont l'amélioration de la vie et des choses visibles ; il veut faire partager ses rêves d'un monde meilleur. Il traite alors des sujets fantastiques ou symboliques avec une imagination étrange alimentée par ses rêves. « Je fais sortir tout ce qui m'arrive, de façon à ne plus me fixer sur des sujets spécifiquement africains, afin de m'adresser au monde entier ».         

Pierre Bodo was born in 1953 in Mandu, Democratic Republic of Congo.
He lives and works in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bodo is one of the founders and key proponents along with Moke and Chéri Samba of what has come to be known as the Zaïre School of people’s painting. Their works vigorously and candidly state their belief in their capacity to create art that could change the course of history. Pierre Bodo chooses to paint anything and describe everything that he has seen and experienced. His works then successively became chronicles, pamphlets, manifestos or advice. His goal is anything but self-centred: he is a people’s painter. One of Bodo's main themes was the “Ndoki Zoba” (sorcery) and his paintings exhorted people to abandon the practice of sorcery. In 1980, he converted to Christianity, and joined the Pentecostal church. He became one of the most impassioned pastors of “world evangelism,” and was convinced that it would change his life.

In the early 1990s, Bodo improved his style considerably so as to be able “to express my major personal ideas and have more impact. My goals being: the improvement of life, and of visible things, and to share my dreams of a better world.” Thereafter he dealt with symbolic or fantasy subjects, creating an imaginary world born from his dreams. “I express everything that happens to me, so that I am no longer focused on specifically African topics and can address the entire world.” The titles of his works: River of Delights, Ignorance, or Love, the Source of Life, perfectly echoes his beliefs and his aesthetic aims.

His last series of work entitled Sapeurs refers to the phenomenon of SAPE, the acronym for Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnalités Elégantes (The Society of Trendsetters and Elegant Personalities). According to Bodo, this “society” was launched in 1973 in Kinshasa with the trio Majesi and music band Sosoliso, followed in 1988 by Viva la Musika with Papa Wemba, and later on with the famous Sapeur Niarcos. A cultural landmark in Kinshasa, this movement was also eminently hierarchichal and gave rise to a number of artists including the young Bodo, Chéri Samba and Chéri Chérin. In 2010, Bodo creates an important series of 9 paintings representing different styles of Sapeurs.