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Koen Theys has been an important figure for Belgian video art. The international success of his work as a student – his work was purchased by MOMA (NY) at the age of twenty – laid the foundation of the first department for video art at a Belgian academy (University College of Art and Design Sint-Lukas Brussels, 1985).
In 1989, Theys set up the arts centre Argos together with his brother Frank Theys and a few friends. It became an international renowned place for video art and new media. In 2004, he set up the department for video art at the University College of Art and Design St-Lucas in Antwerp, where he remains a teacher unto this day.
Although video and photography remain at the centre of his œuvre, Koen Theys can be considered as a typical post-medium artist – also making sculptures, installation and performance art. In his work we discern a constant occupation with the critical deconstruction of icons of modern culture. Through minimal interventions (displacements, duplications, morphings) these icons are transformed to the extent that they start acting against themselves. The heroes and stars from art history and entertainment culture are made into decorative mass ornaments or fantastic architectonic stage settings. Anti-show shows that aim to oppose modernity and post-modernity.