GAZWRX: the films of Jeff Keen
The fiercely original British film-maker, poet and artist Jeff Keen, defied categorisation. He produced a vast body of paintings, drawings, sculpture and punchy Beat poetry, but is best known for his films, which incorporated collage, animation, found footage and live action – often all in one work. Films were shot with his friends and family either at home, on the streets of Brighton or at the local waste tip; their fantastical, DIY countercultural qualities evoked the spirit of Andy Warhol’s Factory and the early cinema pioneers of Brighton, where Keen lived. He completed more than 70 films and videos throughout his life. Keen died in June 2012.
Omozap 2 (1991 1min) Jeff Keen stands in overalls, he lights a roaring gas-fueled torch, smashes a plate with a hammer, paints a giant esoteric symbol on the wall and starts up his film projector.
Marvo Movie (1967 5mins) The Cat Woman, Mickey Mouse, melting toys, the local graveyard and Brighton beach all collide in this subtly provocative and anarchic bit of British fun.
Like the Time Is Now (1960 5mins ) Three beatniks hang out, listen to records and smoke before strange hats appear out of nowhere and a cartoon bubble suggests they all go to the cinema.
Rayday Film (1968-1970 + 1976 13mins) Dada-esque slogans are sprayed on the beach and streets of Brighton, taking in the local tip along the way. Contains what must be some of the first examples of graffiti art.
Day of the Arcane Light (1969 13mins) Cardboard guns are fired to jaunty music and Motler the Word Killer, clutching a fake penis, runs after a woman in a wedding dress.
Cineblatz (1967 3mins ) Sculpted radio static washes over a rush of animated superheroes, advertisements and even the House of Lords.
The Dreams and Past Crimes of the Archduke (1979-1984 7mins) Moving from a noir style thriller at Brighton train station to an artist who creates a broken heart using her paper quill.
White Lite (1968 3mins) A half-naked woman undergoes a strange mental internal journey that leads us through a barrage of film noise to exotic images of stuffed bats.
Plazmatic Blatz (1990s 9mins) Stealth bombers hover like vultures over crashing waves and a ruined land. Using found footage and several thick layers of video, Keen presents a very visceral version of Armageddon.
Wail (1961 5mins ) The realities of brutal gang violence collide with war paintings and a horror movie werewolf in this extraordinary action and animation mix.
Blatzom (1983-1986 12mins) Jeff Keen dons paper masks and his knitted Artwar jacket having already avoided falling bombs and paced a dusty, grey, moonlike landscape.
Artwar (1993 6mins) This refined and punchy series of films combines explosions and gunfire with strident performances at home and painting at the local tip.