Who doesn't know the famous opening tune of The Final Countdown by Europe? Artist Koen Theys (Belgium, 1963) collected over two thousand YouTube video clips showing individuals, duos and groups playing their variation on this wellknown eighties pop song. For three quarters of an hour we hear the same notes being played over and over again in astonishingly varied ways: little girls playing false notes on violins, cool guys who think they're real rockstars and teenagers singing boredly. But we also see brass bands and a complete symphony orchestra. In The Final Countdown (2010) Theys takes us on a trip across different ages, musical traditions and cultures, thereby underlining our similarities: the universal urge to excel, to share our talents with others, wanting to be admired. The longer we look, the more uncomfortable it becomes, all these people performing the same song.
Koen Theys is one of the pioneers of video art in Belgium, but he is not exclusive to this medium. He also makes sculptures, installations, books and photo montages. A recurring theme in his work is the deconstruction of icons in Western culture. He critiques heroes from art history and the entertainment industry. His international breakthrough came with an interpretation of Richard Wagner's Ring des Nibelungen (1984-1989). He recently returned to the rock theme with Death Fucking Metal (2014) which centres on a group of washed out rockers.

Bredaphoto – catalogue
Sep. 20