Through January 1, 2019
The Museum of Modern Art
Without a model, you are nowhere. A nation that can’t make models is a nation that doesn’t understand things, a nation that doesn’t live,” said visionary artist Bodys Isek Kingelez (1948–2015). Based in then-Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), following its independence from Belgium, Kingelez made sculptures of imagined buildings and cities that reflected dreams for his country, his continent, and the world.
Kingelez’s “extreme maquettes” offer fantastic, utopian models for a more harmonious society of the future. An optimistic alternative to his own experience of urban life in his home city of Kinshasa, which grew exponentially and organically with urban planning and infrastructure often unable to keep step, his work explores urgent questions around urban growth, economic inequity, how communities and societies function, and the rehabilitative power of architecture—issues that resonate profoundly today.
Kingelez’s vibrant, ambitious sculptures are created from an incredible range of everyday materials and found objects—colored paper, commercial packaging, plastic, soda cans, and bottle caps—all meticulously repurposed and arranged. While he didn’t travel outside of Zaire until 1989, he was highly attuned to world events and deeply concerned with social issues. The Scientific Center of Hospitalisation the SIDA (1991), for example, references the AIDS crisis; Palais d’Hirochima (1991) addresses the condition of postwar Japan; and U.N. (1995) attests to the organization’s global peacekeeping efforts and the artist’s own sense of civic responsibility. In the complex multi-building cityscape Kimbembele Ihunga (1994), the artist reimagines his agricultural home village complete with a soccer stadium, banks, restaurants, and skyscrapers. In Ville Fantôme (1996), which will be accompanied by a Virtual Reality experience for visitors, the artist has imagined a peaceful city in which doctors and police are not needed.
The first US retrospective of Kingelez’s work, the exhibition spans his full career, from early single-building sculptures, to spectacular sprawling cities, to futuristic late works, which incorporate increasingly unorthodox materials. These rarely shown works are a call for us all to imagine, in the artist’s words, a “better, more peaceful world.”
Visit the Website: moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/3889
JULY 5, 2018 –JANUARY 13, 2019 THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
Situated between the capitalist West and the socialist East, Yugoslavia’s architects responded to contradictory demands and influences, developing a postwar architecture both in line with and distinct from the design approaches seen elsewhere in Europe and beyond. The architecture that emerged—from International Style skyscrapers to Brutalist “social condensers”—is a manifestation of the radical diversity, hybridity, and idealism that characterized the Yugoslav state itself. Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980 introduces the exceptional work of socialist Yugoslavia’s leading architects to an international audience for the first time, highlighting a significant yet thus-far understudied body of modernist architecture, whose forward-thinking contributions still resonate today.
Toward a Concrete Utopia explores themes of large-scale urbanization, technology in everyday life, consumerism, monuments and memorialization, and the global reach of Yugoslav architecture. The exhibition includes more than 400 drawings, models, photographs, and film reels from an array of municipal archives, family-held collections, and museums across the region, and features work by important architects including Bogdan Bogdanović, Juraj Neidhardt, Svetlana Kana Radević, Edvard Ravnikar, Vjenceslav Richter, and Milica Šterić. From the sculptural interior of the White Mosque in rural Bosnia, to the post-earthquake reconstruction of the city of Skopje based on Kenzo Tange’s Metabolist design, to the new town of New Belgrade, with its expressive large-scale housing blocks and civic buildings, the exhibition examines the unique range of forms and modes of production in Yugoslav architecture and its distinct yet multifaceted character.
Organized by Martino Stierli, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, and Vladimir Kulić, guest curator, with Anna Kats, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art.
Visit the Website: https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/3931