BODYS ISEK KINGELEZ | DAB (DEVELOPMENT AUSTRALIAN BANK)
Estimate: 30,000 - 50,000 GBP
Estimate: 30,000 - 50,000 GBP
BODYS ISEK KINGELEZ
DAB (DEVELOPMENT AUSTRALIAN BANK)
signed and dated 2007 (on the base); titled (on the tower and base)
coloured paper, coloured marker, felt, pen, pencil, paper board, pins, and other mixed media
100 by 46 by 43cm., 39¼ by 18 by 17in.
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The work appears stable. The lettering at the top of the tower is loose, but this appears inherent. There is lifting to the card and paper elements in places with various minor tears, scratches and creases in places. 'B/Braun' element on the base is lifting. Scattered surface marks, yellowing and water stains to the base. There is a dent measuring approximately 10cm. long to the tower across the DAB lettering. General wear consistent with age of work and materials used.
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Galerie Magnin-A, Paris
Acquired from the above by the present owner 2006/2007
New York City, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams, 26 May 2018-1 January 2019, illustrated in colour in the catalogue, no. 32, p. 128-129
Bertrand Westphal, Atlas des egarements: etudes geocritiques, 2019
‘I stopped teaching in 1978 without realising that I was becoming an artist. I came to the decision to leave teaching through a personal desire to contribute to the future of Africa, a decolonized Africa. I combined all my efforts so that Africa would always be heard.’
Bodys Isek Kingelez began his life as an artist during an era of tremendous change in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). Living and working during a time marked by the confluence of colonial and post-colonial periods, Kingelez used his work to envision a forward-thinking and prosperous future, free of economic and social stress. From an early age, the artist worked tirelessly for the greater good and saw his structures as a means by which to rectify his country’s pressing civic needs.
‘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.’
The artist used brightly coloured commercial packaging and commonplace materials, such as milk cartons, bottle caps and razors, to create utopian worlds complete with dream-like pavilions, skyscrapers and even completely original constructions. Bodys Isek Kingelez’s cityscapes are flamboyant and fantastical metropolises; worlds where racial and geopolitical barriers come tumbling down.
His vibrant yet orderly cities reflect the impact of Space Race-influenced Soviet architecture on a newly post-colonial Africa as well as the Art Deco buildings of colonial times. However, Kingelez’s ultimate reference point was his hometown of Kinshasa, which presented patchwork of structural and design inspiration. Kingelez’s 'extreme maquettes' not only echoed the physicality of the industrialized city that he grew up in, but of other major cities as well. The artist would go on to incorporate non-African structures into his work such as the Grande Arche de la Défense in Paris or the pagodas of Hiroshima Castle.
The artist would travel far and wide, creating maquettes reflective of the architecture he encountered along the way. In 2000, Kingelez participated in the 12th Biennale of Sydney, a trip which undoubtedly inspired the present lot. DAB (Development Australian Bank) depicts a fictional institution, and is most likely a reference to the African Development Bank (AfDB). Not only does the work’s title mirror that of the AfDB, but it is also executed in the institution’s logo colours of green and white. Here, Kingelez is commenting on the long and complex history of foreign aid in Africa. With pronounced waves running down the sides of a painstakingly geometrically decorated rocket-like structure, this work is a perfect example of Kingelez’s signature attention to detail and thoughtful construction.
In 1989, Kingelez was invited to participate in the landmark contemporary art exhibition Magiciens de la Terre, held at the esteemed Centre Georges Pompidou and the Grande Halle de la Villette. In 2018, Kingelez became the first black African Artist to ever enjoy a solo show at MoMA. Spanning over three decades of creation, Kingelez: City Dreams featured a selection of works by the Congolese artist, much of which had rarely been seen before.
Works by Kingelez can be found in many prominent private collections and have been featured in numerous key international exhibitions such as the Johannesburg Biennale (1997), Documenta 11 (2002), Beauté Congo at the Foundation Cartier (Paris), African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection at the Museum of Fine Art Houston (2005) and the traveling Africa Remix: Contemporary Art of a Continent (2004).
Beauté Congo, Fondation Cartier, Paris, 2015-2016, p. 253
Bodys Isek Kingelez, The Museum of Modern Art, 2018, p. 33