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3-channel video installation

HD 16:9


English, French spoken



With Waterloo Forever!, Koen Theys gives a fictionalised impression of the Battle of Waterloo, which is re-enacted every year by more than two thousand participants in the same fields where the slaughter took place in 1815. In heroic battle scenes, thousands of extras try, in a historically correct way, to relive the battle, with perfectly recreated costumes, horses and cannons, up to and including the actual gunshots. And yet, given that they strive for historical accuracy, they cannot resist taking pictures of themselves or having conversations on their mobile phones and smoking

industrially manufactured cigarettes.


As in other works by Koen Theys, a lot of references can be detected to 19th-century "l'art pompier" and "history paintings": for instance in his use of exuberantly large video projection formats and dynamic compositions. By presenting Waterloo Forever! in the form of a triptych, the historical film Napoleon by Abel Gance also comes to mind.


With this work, Koen Theys places himself in the tradition of Belgian artists such as James Ensor or Marcel Broodthaers, who also made their version of the Battle of Waterloo.


The film was screened or exhibited at:


  • To be continued


  • To be continued

Waterloo Forever, 2010 | excerpt

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