Monday 25 June 2012


Radical DIY film-maker, maverick artist and Brighton cultural institution Jeff Keen died on 21st June.

To be honest there isn't much to add to the Guardian obituary by William Fowler, who apparently collaborated with him.
“Keen's interest in myth, surrealism and romantic painting complemented his love of movies and comics, and he continually absorbed new references into his work... [which] was often more appreciated by skaters and punks than followers of the canonical avant garde. The extreme, short edits in his playful, visceral films have helped to keep his work fresh and alive; they still zap with energy decades later.”
It's not pop art in the Lichtenstein sense of isolating images from pop culture and making them contemplative... there's an engagement with pop culture, even if sometimes a critical one. There's probably a parallel between his work and William Burroughs, or for that matter noise bands such as Lightning Bolt.

Fowler's also correct to explain Keen's work as “expanded cinema”, with multiple projections fusing with live performance or, in one memorable performance at the Phoenix gallery, drawing on the screen while the film was still being shown, like he couldn't keep his hands still any longer. As only said recently of a Sunn 0))) gig, the experience is unYoutubeable. Though even seeing one of his films you feel like the images are bursting through, not trapped within the frame.
As is said in a thought balloon clipped from a comic which adorns the home page of his website “I... I feel like I'm surging with power!”

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