Waterloo Forever ! (2010)

Video installation for 3 projectors
41.29 min. (loop)
3 X PAL – color –stereo

Production & realization: Koen Theys
Camera: Koen Theys, Wim Catrysse, Hans Meijer, Azilys Roman, Frank Theys
Sound: Johan Vander Maelen
Editing: Koen Theys
Assistant editing: Glenn Geerinck
Dialogues: Koen Theys, Alex Dumitran
Voices: Marie André, Marcus Bering, Bernard Breuse, Eric Castex, René Clausen, Miguel Decleire, Alex Dumitran, Christoph Fink, Volkmar Hirner, Kosten Koper, Jan Kurleman, Gary Leddington, Emilio Lopez-Menchero, Peter Maschke, Michel Lorand, Neil Mayne, Stephane Olivier, David Resch, Eugène Savitzkaya, Giles Thomas
Thanks to: The reenactors of The Battle of Waterloo 2007 – 2008 – 2009 - 2010

A fictionalised impression of the Battle of Waterloo, as it is created every year by more than 2000 reenactors in the same fields where the slaughter once took place. In heroic battlescenes, thousands of figurants try to act historically correct, with perfectly reconstructed costumes, horses, cannons and gunfire. But at the same time they can not resist to take pictures of themselves, to use their mobile phones or to smoke industrial cigarettes.

As in other recent works by Koen Theys, a lot of references to 19th century ‘pompier’ paintings can be detected; in this way connecting them with the use of large videoprojection formats in contemporary art expositions. But using the form of a triptych, the historical film 'Napoleon' by Abel Gance also comes in mind.

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

“… The revelation is to be found at the SMAK: Koen Theys' new video installation Waterloo Forever! unites formal power, virtuosity, satire and mass theater in an oppressive reissue of the battle. The accurate capture of unsightly facial expressions, bored gestures and careless gunfire reveales the tragic humor of a misanthropic Ensor of today.”
an Braet - Knack

Entire article (NL)

“ … The grandeur of the panoramas in the Brabant hills, of historic costumes and thundering gunfire is regularly relativated by close-ups of extras, smoking a cigarette or calling with their mobile phone. …”
Jan Van Hove – De Standaard

Entire article (NL)

“ … In the last three years he has filmed in Waterloo and created from that footage a monumental work which is shown continuously on three adjacent projections, each of them more than four x three meters. …”
Jan Kurleman – Belgien Info

Entire article (DE)

“ … Everyone is director and actor at the same time. Even Napoleon is just one of the crowd.”
Koen Theys – catalogue ‘Hareng Saur – Ensor and Contemporary Art’

Entire article (EN) (NL)

“ … This massive fictionalised impression that flirts overtly with folklore and kitsch shows heroic battlescenes by figurants, including reconstructed costumes, horses, cannons and gunfire. Shot in landscape format with inserts of triptych imagery, the work also calls to mind the historical drama Napoleon by Abel Gance … ”
Argos – press text

Entire article (EN)