(Exhibition Review) Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams, MoMA

At the Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams exhibition at MoMA, the pieces are arranged in a way so that they visually draw in the viewers: some pieces stand alone, while others fit snugly together like puzzle pieces. The artist uses everyday materials and found items, such as colored paper, commercial packaging, plastic, soda cans, and bottle caps, and gives them a new life as colorful structures. When put together, I don’t feel as if any work stands out by itself because they are all so detail oriented and become a bit overwhelming, but rather, there are specific architectural parts of each piece that I found intriguing. The unique shapes really solidified his statement of creating a futuristic civilization by going beyond conventional shapes into an alternate reality.

When I saw the work, I first imagined myself among these colorful structures and wondered how life would be to exist in this dream world. The fact that there was no visible human life also struck me as odd, as “These rarely shown works are a call for us all to imagine, in the artist’s words, a ‘better, more peaceful world.’” Is a better more peaceful world one in which there are no humans? After I scanned the exhibition, I was reminded a lot of Las Vegas, a place where everyone goes to have constant fun with flashy buildings, eye-catching performances, and enticing casinos. Imagining myself having to live in this “city” would make me feel as if I were in a dystopia where everyone is forced live happily in a specific life style determined by an omnipotent force, comparable to George Orwell’s 1984.

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