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Spotlight

Jeff Keen

Hales, London (SP9)

Jeff Keen, Secret Comic 1, 1962.  Courtesy: the artist and Hales, London/New York

Jeff Keen, Secret Comic 1, 1962.  Courtesy: the artist and Hales, London/New York

For Spotlight 2018, Hales is bringing together a presentation of 1960s–70s works by pioneering avant-garde artist, filmmaker and poet Jeff Keen (1923–2012). The rare, historic collages and assemblages in this presentation highlight a pivotal moment in Keen’s career, as he became immersed in 1960s Britain’s countercultural scene and began developing his unique aesthetic.

His films might be understood as expanded collages: amalgamations of image, sound and an array of characters and influences. It is through collage’s radical disruption that fragmented textures of a global post-war society are powerfully expressed in Keen’s oeuvre and in the works in this presentation. War, technology, popular culture – these are the mythic, yet ever-contemporary, themes which converge in the cut-up words, images, books, and the disjointed narratives of Keen’s work.

This presentation centers on five original Secret Comic works - collages Keen created for his one page comic book/news page ‘Amazing Rayday’ - which he distributed in the streets of Brighton and internationally. These exceptional works, presented alongside a selection of related collages, assemblages, paintings and film, reveal how Keen harnessed the language of comic books, largely inspired by his interest in American Pop Art and Hollywood B-Movies - their processes, words, energies – to transcend boundaries and capture the spirit of an age.