Featured workBodys Isek Kingelez: Étoile Rouge Congolaise (European tour only)

Étoile Rouge Congolaise was one of the first of many futuristic architectural models by the Congolese artist Bodys Isek Kingelez.

The incredibly detailed and colourful work consists mainly of paper, cardboard, styrofoam, used packaging and a variety of other found materials. The red star is not only a part of the futuristic building’s designation, but also decorates the roof. Representing the artist’s socialist ideals for society, Kingelez’s urban landscapes are a rejection of the domesticated western city and the featureless “airport” and souvenir art that can be found at tourist markets and in airport shops. Simultaneously, his model cities are a reaction to excessive construction projects, which in many places – financed by the World Bank and ignoring the needs of the population – forebode a ruinous existence even before their completion. Kingelez sees his models as prototypes for a community-based urban life in a future Africa. “I want my art to foster the revitalization of a community and ultimately lead to the creation of a new world,” the artist says. “The joys of our world are, after all, dependent on the people living in it. I built these cities to be full of peace, justice and freedom. They should function like little secular states with their own political structures, without police and without military.”

This piece was showcased during the European tour only.

  • Paper, cardboard, styrofoam, plastic and other found materials. 85 x 92 x 50 cm. Courtesy of CAAC – The Pigozzi Collection, Geneva © Bodys Isek Kingelez

    Bodys Isek Kingelez. Étoile Rouge Congolaise, 1990.