This pioneer of Belgian video art collected over 2,000 YouTube clips of the famous pop song The Final Countdown. Theys’ work often centres on popular culture.
8 October, 2016
Text: Guido van Eijck
At a young age, Koen Theys (1963) established a name for himself as a disruptive artist. In 1983 he was sent from the art academy in Ghent because he had made a video in which he attacked a dead German shepherd dog with an axe. For those who have become curious: Crime01 can be viewed on koentheys.org.
Although he was trained as a sculptor, Theys gradually ventured into making videos, starting with filmed performances. When he was only twenty years old, the Museum of Modern Art in New York bought one of his video’s: Diana, about the goddess of the hunt.
Popular culture and the deconstruction of Western icons are recurring themes in his work. In the 1980s, he gained worldwide recognition with Song of my Soil (Lied van mijn land), a modern interpretation of Richard Wagner’s Ring der Nibelungen and Parsifal, mixed with a criticism of mass entertainment. The recent video Death Fucking Metal (2014) centres on a group of washed-out rock stars.
During BredaPhoto, Electron will show The Final Countdown (2010). For this piece, Theys used over 2,000 video clips found on YouTube. In a seemingly endless repetition we hear the,famous opening chords of the eighties hit The Final Countdown, koentheys.orgover and over again. Each time a little different: from an a cappella rendition to a cover by a symphony orchestra. The musicians have one thing in common: they all want to be seen and heard.