MAGNIN-A

BODYS ISEK KINGELEZ



Né en 1948 à Kimbembele Ihunga, République Démocratique du Congo.Vit et travaille à Kinshasa.

Body Isek Kingelez enseigne dans une école secondaire jusqu'en 1977. Après plus d'une année d'isolement et de recherche, il réalise en 1979 une maquette étrange qui attire l'attention du directeur du Musée de Kinshasa où il devient restaurateur. C'est à partir de 1985, qu'il se consacre entièrement à son travail d'artiste qualifié par lui-même "d'Architecture Maquettique". Kinshasa est alors une grande métropole chaotique, anarchique, toujours plus délabrée. Kingelez, témoin des ravages d'une politique peu soucieuse de la communauté, développe une œuvre d'aspect architecturale qui concentre toutes les conditions du développement de sa capitale et de son pays: habitat, éducation, justice, santé, sécurité... toute son œuvre poétique autant que politique questionne la condition humaine. Après avoir réalisé plus d'une centaine d'extrêmes maquettes à partir de matériaux de récupération, de papier, de carton, de plastique où semblent coexister et prendre forme, le Présent, l'Avenir et les espoirs d'un renouveau africain, il imagine à partir de 1992, des villes entières. Ces "villes" sont un assemblage de maquettes d'immeubles aux formes inhabituelles, de bâtiments grandioses, de complexes aux couleurs vives qui rassemblent toutes les fonctions de villes idéales que l'artiste rêve de voir édifier.            

Born 1948, Kimbembele Ihunga, Democratic Republic of Congo
Lives and works in Kinshasa 

In the hands of Bodys Isek Kingelez, the African metropolis becomes an urban utopia. After graduating from secondary school, Kingelez made Kinshasa his home in 1970.  Over the next seven years he studied part time, supporting himself through teaching.  During these years, Kinshasa had become a sprawling, chaotic, anarchic city that was falling apart. Kingelez, highly aware of this, dedicated himself aesthetically, politically, and poetically to questioning the human condition, and after 1977, he began to experiment with assembling fantastic structures that offered a redemptive vision for the city.  Since 1985, Kingelez has dedicated himself entirely to what he calls “Architectural Modelism.”  For Kingelez, this project is one of regeneration; he has stated, “Art is superior knowledge, a vehicle for individual renewal in improving the general well-being.”

He has created hundreds of models from found materials in which paper; cardboard, and plastic are used to construct the present, the future, and the hopes of an African renewal. After 1992, he started imagining entire cities. These colossal works are made up of buildings—some playful, some imposing, some utterly fantastic—that are incorporated into a carefully conceived urban grid.  Avenues, parks, waterways, stadiums, and monuments are also part of Kingelez’s meticulous vision. Together these elements fulfill all the functions of an ideal metropolis that the artist would like to see built.  His first city was called Kimbembele Ihunga, to honour his native village, his dead father and his mother, who still lives there. About these works—Ville Fantôme (1995), Kinshasa: Project for the Third Millennium (1997), the City of the Future (2000), he noted: “I wanted my art to serve the community that is being reborn to create a new world, because the pleasures of our earthly world depend on the people who live in it. I created these cities so there would be lasting peace, justice and universal freedom. They will function like small secular states with their own political structure, and will not need policemen or an army.”