Koen Theys | º1963

 

Koen Theys belongs to the first generation of visual artists in Belgium to explore and appropriate video as an artistic medium in the early 1980s. He came to international attention with productions such as the video work Diana (1984) and an ambitious interpretation of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen (1984-1989), the latter in collaboration with Frank Theys. In more recent work, i.e. Het Vanitas Record (2005), he has again deconstructed the great traditions of art history and linked them to contemporary issues. And in The Many Things Show (solo exhibition S.M.A.K., Ghent, 2013) modernist statements were also approached in a similar way.

 

The deconstruction of icons of our Western culture and cultural history is a characteristic that runs through his photographic, video and sculptural work. Theys his artistic method is the manipulation of these icons via displacement, doubling, morphing, and so on, until they become inversions of themselves, as it were.

 

Recently, Koen Theys has been working on, among other things, a series of video installations (Fanfare, Calme & Volupté, 2007, Patria - Vive le Roi! Vive la République!, 2008, Death Fucking Metal, 2014) and  Serial Drummer Girls, 2016 that are inspired by the 'tableau vivant' from the 19th century romantic painting tradition. This romanticism is inverted in Waterloo Forever! (2010), a large-scale and grotesque adaptation of the aftermath of the Battle of Waterloo.