The Jean Pigozzi African Art Collection

Bodys Isek Kingelez

Born in 1948, Kimbembele Ihunga, Democratic Republic of Congo

Died in 2015 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.”



Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams, MoMA, New York, USA from 05/26/18 to 01/01/19


Perspectives 145 : Bodys Isek Kingelez, Nina and Michael Zilkha Gallery, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, United States


Bodys Isek Kingelez, Centre culturel Wolu-Culture, La Médiatine, Brussels, Belgium


Bodys Isek Kingelez, Munich Villa Stuck, Germany.


Bodys Isek Kingelez, Kunstverein Hambourg, Germany.


D'autres Ajouts d'Eté, Bodys Isek Kingelez, MAMCO Contemporary and Modern Art Museum, Geneva, Switzerland.


Bodys Isek Kingelez, Cartier Fondation for Contemporary Art, Paris, France.


Bodys Isek Kingelez, Haus der Kulturen der Welt. Berlin, Germany.



Christian Louboutin: l'Exhibition[niste], Palais de la Porte Dorée, Paris, France (0/26/20 - 07/26/20)


Art/Afrique, le nouvel atelier. Les Initiés, un choix d’œuvres (1989 – 2009) dans la collection d’art africain contemporain de Jean Pigozzi. Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France (04/26/17 to 09/04/17)


Regarding Africa: Contemporary Art and Afro-Futurism, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel

(from 12/09/16 to 05/27/17)


Making Africa - A Continent of Contemporary Design, CCCB, Barcelona, Spain

2050. A Brief History of the Future, Palazzo Reale, Milan, Italy


2050 Une brève histoire de l'avenir, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium


Beauté Congo – 1926-2015 – Congo Kitoko, Fondation Cartier, Paris, France


AFRIKA, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark


Making Africa : A Continent of Contemporary Design, Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany


(im)possible! Artists as Architects, Marta Herford (Gehry galleries), Herford, Germany


Luminós/C/ity.Ordinary Joy: From the Pigozzi Contemporary African Art Collection, Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, United States


Art Dubai, Dubai, UAE


Vivid Memories, Fondation Cartier pour l'Art contemporain, Paris


The Alternative Guide to the Universe, Hayward Gallery, London, UK


Jan 29 - May 6

Six Yards Guaranteed Dutch Design, Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem, The Netherlands


Postmodernism, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK

2011 - 2012

Mondes inventés, Mondes habités, MUDAM, Luxembourg


JAPANCONGO: Carsten Höller’s double-take on Jean Pigozzi’s collection,

Le Magasin, Centre national d'Art Contemporain, Grenoble, France

JAPANCONGO: Carsten Höller’s double-take on Jean Pigozzi’s collection,

Garage Center for Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia


Dreamlands, Pompidou Center, Paris, France

African Stories , Marrakech Art Fair, Marrakech, Morocco

2009 - 2010

Africa? Una nuova storia, Complesso del Vittoriano, Rome, Italy

2007 - 2008

Why Africa? Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli, Turin, Italy

2006 - 2007

100% Africa, Guggenheim Museum , Bilbao, Spain


Aller / retour. L’Afrique, La Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African Art, Washington DC, United States


Arts of Africa, Grimaldi Forum, Monaco


African Art Now : Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection, Museum of Fine Art Houston, Houston, United States


Arti & Architettura 1900/2000, Genova Palazzo Ducale, Genoa, Italy


Africa Remix

Art contemporain d’un continent (travelling exhibition)

* 24 July 2004 - 7 Nov 2004

Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, Germany

* 10 Feb 2005 - 17 April 2005

Hayward Gallery, London, UK

* 15 May 2005 - 20 Aug 2005

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

* Feb - May 2006

Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan

* 24 June – 30 Sept 2007

Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa

Les Afriques, Tri Postal , Lille, France

Je m’installe aux abattoirs, La collection d’art contemporain d’agnès b., Les Abattoirs , Toulouse - France


The American Effect, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, United Sates

Transferts, Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels, Belgium

2002 – 2003

Afrikanische Reklamekunst (L’art et la pub en Afrique), Iwalewa-Haus, Universität Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany


Documenta XI, Kassel, Germany.

Sao-Paulo Biennal, Sao-Paulo, Brazil.


Bodys Isek Kingelez, Ludwig Museum. Cologne, Germany


Musée International des Arts Modestes, Sète, France.

Sydney Biennal. Sydney, Australia

Vision du Futur, Grand Palais. Paris, France

Zeitwenden, Kunsterhaus.Vienna, Austria


Zeitwenden, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn, Germany

Art-Worlds in Dialogue, Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany

1 Monde Réel, Cartier Fondation for Contemporary Art. Paris, France

The 1999 Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, United States


Unfinished Story, Walker Art Center. Minneapolis, United States.

Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago. Chicago, United States

Africa Africa, Tobu Museum of Art., Tokyo, Japan.


Africus, Johannesburg Biennal. Johannesburg, South-Africa

Projects 59 : Architecture as Metaphor, Museum of Modern Art, New York, United States.

Kwangju Biennal. Unmapping the Earth, "Becoming", Kwangju, South-Korea


Wall and Space. Reality and Utopia. Bodys Isek Kingelez Architectural Visions. Oksnehallen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Neue Kunst Aus Africa, Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt, Berlin, Germany


Big City, Serpentine Gallery, London, UK


Home and the World Architectural Sculpture by two African Artists, The Museum for African Art, New York, United States


Out of Africa, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK


Africa Hoy-Africa Now, Moderno Art Center, Las Palmas Gran Canary Island, Spain.

Groningen Museum, The Netherland

Contemporary Art Center. Mexico City, Mexico


Magiciens de la Terre, Georges Pompidou Center

La Grande Halle de la Villette.

Paris, France.



Contemporary African Art

Sidney Littlefield Kasfir

Collection World of Art (2nd Edition), Thames&Hudson, London


1-54 New York

Art Africa Ltd. Fair Catalogue p.41


Les Initiés, un choix d’œuvres (1989 – 2009) dans la collection d’art africain contemporain de Jean Pigozzi. Editions Dilecta, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France. Catalogue d’exposition.


Beauté Congo – 1926-2015 – Congo Kitoko, Fondation Cartier, Exhibition catalogue


2050. Une brève histoire de l'avenir, Exhibition catalogue, Musées des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Editions Snoek


Ma première histoire de l'art, Béatrice Fontanel, Editions Palette, pg 114.


Mémoires Vives, 30 ans Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Exhibition catalogue, Fondation Cartier


Hohe Luft Magazine, Issue 4/2014, pgs 70-1.


Skycraper : Art and Architecture Against Gravity Michael Darling, Joanna Szupinska

Publié à l'occasion de l'exposition "Skycraper : Art and Architecture Against Gravity" au Musée d'Art Contemporain de Chicago.Préface de Madeleine Grynsztejn. Commissaires : Michael Darling, Joanna Szupinska. 112 pages -21 x 34 cm. Editions MCA Chicago, Août 2012. Relié

2011 - 2012

Postmodernism, Style and Subversion, 1970-1990, Exhibition catalogue, Victoria & Albert Museum, edited by Glenn Adamson and Jane Pavitt, page 93


Dreamlands, des parcs d'attraction aux cités du futur

Exhibition catalogue. Pp 132-133 Published by Editions Centre Pompidou.



Edited by Richard Noble. Published by Whitechapel Hallery Ventures & The MIT Press.

Africa? una nuova storia

Exhibition catalogue, published by Gangemi Editore

The Global Art World

Edited by Hans Belting & Andrea Buddensieg.


Jahresting 49, Herausgegeben im Auftrag des Kulturkreises des Deutschen Wirtschaft, Der Hund ist fûr die Hyane eine Kolanuss, Zeitgenössische Kunst und Kultur aus Afrika. K ̈ln Skulptur“, Aufzeichnungen des künstlers, texte : Bodys Isek Kingelez, Köln.Phantasie und Forschergeist, Mit Kindren kûnstlerische Wege entdecken, auteur : Thomas Heyl, Kôsel-Verlag, 2008, Munich.


Atlas de l'art contemporain à l'usage de tous

Denis Gielen, préface de Laurent Busine

Musée des Arts Contemporains au Grand-Hornu

Why Africa?

Exhibition catalogue. Published by Electa & Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli.


100% Africa

Exhibition catalogue. Published by TF Editores & FMGB Guggenheim Bilbao Museum.


Art Works : Place

By Tacita Dean & Jeremy Millar. Published by Thames & Hudson.

Perspectives 145: Bodys Isek Kingelez

Exhibition catalogue. Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston.

Arts of Africa: The Contemporary Collection of Jean Pigozzi

Exhibition catalogue. Published by Skira Edition & Grimaldi Forum Monaco.

African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection

Exhibition catalogue. Published by Merrell.


Africa Remix

Exhibition catalogue. Published by Hatje Cantz.


FILM “Kingelez: Kinshasa, une ville repensée…”

Un film de Dirk Dumon. Production : Piksa. 29’40” mins.

GAGARIN, Volume 04 # May 2003

Published by GAGA vzw, Antwerp, Belgium

The American Effect

Global Perspectives on the United States, 1990-2003

P. 45 – 47. Whitney Museum of American Art. New York, United States

Distributed by Harry N. Abrams, Inc, New York.


Africalia in collaboration with the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium.


Bodys Isek Kingelez

Exhibition Catalogue, Médiatine, Bruxelles - Belgium. Textes par André Magnin. Edition : Wolu-Culture, Centre culturel de Woluwe-Saint-Lambert.


Documenta 11_Platform 5

Exhibition Catalogue. Editions Hatje Cantz.


Bodys Isek Kingelez

Kunstverein in Hamburg.

Texts in German, French and English by Bodys Isek Kingelez, André Magnin, Okwui Enwezor

Yilmaz Dziewior. Editor : Hatje Cantz.


Kunst-Welten im Dialog Von Gaugin zur Globalen Gegenwart

Global Art Rheinland 2000 Museum Ludwig Cologne.

Edition Dumont. -Kingelez, texts: André Magnin.



Pittsburgh Carnegie Museum of art Pennsylvania -Kingelez : Ville Fantôme 1996

Exhibition catalogue.


Reading the contemporary

African Art from Theory to the Market place

1999 -IVA. Institut of International Visual Art. -Bodys Isek Kingelez.


Unmapping the Earth

97 Kwangu Biennale

Becoming Bodys I. Kingelez p. 414 - p.415, biography p.473.

Art & Design N°50

Art & The City, A dream of Urbanity

"Bodys Isek Kingelez : Kimbeville - City of Tomorrow"

Pages 32-35.


Contemporary Art of Africa

Bodys Isek Kingelez by Ettore Sottsass, p.170-174

Edited by André Magnin with Jacques Soulillou -

Published by Harry N. Abraams.

Bodys Isek Kingelez

Exhibition catalogue by André Magnin

Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, Paris.


Africahoy Africa Now

Gran Canary Island, Las Palmas Spain.

Groningen, Holland.

Atlantic Center of Modern Art, Mexico

Exhibition catalogue, bilingual texts: Spanish, French.


Magiciens de le Terre

Exhibition catalogue, Georges Pompidou Center.

Paris, France.