JEFF KEEN TRIBUTE: A.L. REES

The Cartoon Theatre of Dr Gaz (1979, Jeff Keen)

Jeff’s friends, fans and collaborators offer their memories and recollections of Jeff and his films. Originally published in Film Panic Magazine, issue 1, June 2013 

I first saw Jeff’s films at Better Books and the Arts Lab in the mid-60s, a revelation of his underground and multi-screen cinema. Blatant and raw, but subtle and lyrical too, they celebrated the hand-made film, the multi-track sound loop and layers of superimposed images to the point of white-out. Friends and family were his cast, and his imagery shot the rapids from his own brilliant drawings to eye-bruising single-frame cut-ups of pop culture. A truly self-taught man, his knowledge of artists, writers and filmmakers was wide and deep, the frames of his films packed with allusions to his sources and favourites such as ‘D.Duck and Co’ and ‘The Surrealist New Myth’. One of only a handful of film artists in the UK when he began, Jeff was an independent spirit who for the next forty years never ceased to make new work in new media. It was a privilege and pleasure to have known him, and to celebrate the recognition of his films and graphic art now reaching even wider audiences on DVD and in the gallery.

A.L. Rees is a Senior Research Fellow at The Royal College of Art, and author of A History of Experimental Film and Video (2008).