ESSAYS, INTERVIEWS & REVIEWS
Koen Theys - 2010 - The Final Countdown [EN, essay]
The Final Countdown
A new video installation by Koen Theys
Since the late seventies Koen Theys (°1963) has realized numerous videos and sculptures in which we meet individuals who try not to disappear in a multitude. In this sense, his works reminds us of the Attic tragedies that to the modern beholder seem to register the struggle of heroes who are sabotaged by fate, whereas one can also consider them to register the birth of the first individuals from the anonymous communities of yore.
In his films ‘Rhine Gold’ and ‘Walkyria’, based upon the operas by Richard Wagner, we witness the twilight of the gods, but also the end of some heroic individuals. Time and again the world seems to turn into a grey and nameless place with no room for exceptional people.
More and more I think that every genuine artist creates his work to create a place for himself or herself: a place where the artist is allowed to be who he his, how he is, where he is.
The video-installation ‘The Final Countdown’ contains more than 2000 clips found on YouTube, each showing an individual interpreting the celebrated opening tune of the song ‘The Final Countdown’, created by the rock band ‘Europe’. People from all over the world play this tune on piano, violin, trumpet or harmonica, in a brass band, in a symphonic orchestra or just singing, together with thousands of other people in gigantic stadiums.
At first the video installation seduces us, just like the tune, but soon we are overcome with uneasiness at the sight of all these individuals trying to excel in the interpretation of this popular tune. How painful, these attempts, for how common they are, how general, how painfully normal! In seeing these people, we are reminded of our own dreams, which are no less futile…
But at the same time, we take delight in this beautifully constructed baroque piece of art, turning a simple tune into the maddening heart of a dionysiac Greek chorus. An exceptional achievement!
Montagne de Miel, May 30th 2010