Lucas Adams is a senior editor at New York Review Comics.

NYR DAILY

Bodys Isek Kingelez: Building Fantasy

Bodys Isek Kingelez: Paris Nouvel, 1989

In the late 1970s, the Congolese sculptor Bodys Isek Kingelez (1948-2015) began crafting what he called “extreme maquettes,” fantastical buildings constructed out of whatever he could get his hands on. He built most of these—now on view at “City Dreams”—in the city of his birth, Kinshasa, then-Zaire, where he lived and worked as a teacher and museum conservator before becoming a full-time artist. “City Dreams” lists Kingelez’s materials (a small selection: paper, corrugated cardboard, styrofoam, bottle caps, metal grommets, ballpoint pen shafts) but suggests that there are further mysteries to his work. Out of these modest ingredients Kingelez creates a whole world, entirely his own.