ANOTHER AND ANOTHER AND ANOTHER
ACT OF SEEING URBAN SPACE
(…) KOEN THEYS isolates elements that characterize the modern city: buildings, street furniture, benches and trees that he manipulates in the computer and hangs on the wall on perspex as separate elements that suggest depth. In a sort of reconstruction of the elements that give the city the appearance of a city, he summarizes its characteristics and distinctive features.
One of Theys' earlier works, the vortex of Flemish rustic bungalows from the 'Tunnels' series, was a dystopian modern city. To take just one example, Chicago, the capital of the skyscraper, is nowadays surrounded by thousands of acres of suburban rustic bungalows: detached, 'personalized' homes in series enclosed by a metre of green on each side. These houses in the 'Tunnel' series and the street furniture in Theys' new work are possibly an essential postscript to this series of exhibitions. The question does indeed force itself upon us: why are we suburbanites interested, actually or potentially, in the city? Why do we pay so much attention to the city and not, or hardly at all, to the suburbs that have long since displaced it? The city is only a city still because of the characteristics Theys shows and whose job it is to convince us that the city still exists. But in fact the city centre has long since degenerated into a museum, a theme park or a shopping mall, and it may at a later stage possibly dissolve altogether into the suburbs.
"It is not the city, but the suburbs that are the only urban form where people still live (even though they cannot be seen there, since they stay indoors). (…)
Marc Holthof - catalogue ANOTHER AND ANOTHER AND ANOTHER ACT OF SEEING URBAN SPACE - De Singel, Antwerp 1997