Belfast Telegraph

Sacha Jafri: The modern art world has become a money-making machine

The artist described himself as the “antithesis” to a world obsessed with instant gratification.

Artist Sacha Jafri has decried the global art community as a “money-making machine” in a scathing commentary about the effects of modern technology on creativity.

The world-renowned painter said current artists are becoming increasingly “irrelevant” as they cater to dealer “vultures” and a society used to receiving instant images from the internet.

The Kafka’s Waiting Room creator, 40, told the Press Association: “Art is a money-making machine nowadays.

“The way the art world is going, and what’s happening in the world generally, is this obsession with the instant and obsession with technology and newness, and then the false projection of the self that we are also obsessed with.

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Jafri will bring some of his most significant pieces back to the gallery.

“Artists are now getting embroiled in that nonsense and are worrying more about the finished project – where it’s going to hang, where it’s going to sell, who’s going to buy it – instead of the actual journey of the creation.

“The most important thing for an artist is to live in grace, but sadly that has become about 20th on the list, and if an artist isn’t living in grace then anything he produces has no relevance.”

He continued: “Living artists are suddenly making a lot of money, and therefore dealers are making a lot of money, and that perpetuates into a larger commodity-based relationship; if anything goes up in value, there will be more vultures hanging around it.

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Saatchi art gallery preview

“Artists nowadays come up with a collection, but before they even put paint on canvas will have come up with a title for the show and will know how it’s going to be marketed.

“I am trying to be the antithesis to that – I am trying to slow people down and link to the soul.”

Known for his large colourful pieces, previously bought by the likes of George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio and Roger Federer, and his philanthropic work, he will this week make a short appearance in London’s Saatchi Gallery to exhibit his Universal Consciousness display.

The collection, an 18-year retrospective of his career, will bring together some of his most significant pieces and put them up for auction as it tours around the world over the next four years.

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Jafri describes even his least favourite works as perfect.

Each new location will also see Jafri create a brand new piece, with the aim of raising a total of £10 million for local charities, with a particular focus on supporting children in need and mental health causes.

His unusual style sees him bring himself into a deep meditative trance before painting for hours without a break.

He joked: “Sometimes I will look at it and go, ‘Oh my gosh, did I do that? That’s awesome! I can paint’. Other times I’ll come out and go, ‘Jesus, that’s bloody awful’.

“But I don’t like something not working, so even when it’s awful I won’t give up on it, because I know that being in that state means that whatever I create is perfect.”

Jafri’s Universal Consciousness – The 18 Year Retrospective will be open to the public at the Saatchi Gallery from Thursday to Friday this week, with an auction in aid of the Royal Foundation’s Heads Together campaign.

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