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‘Question’ a maverick collector-copywriter
“What keeps you interested in the art world?”
“I am not interested in the art world. I’m interested in art.”

“What were your ambitions when you started out?”
“I very much wanted to learn to walk.”

“Do you think art speaks a universal language or sometimes gets lost in translation?”
“Lsto ni rantslation.”

In a new volume on art, advertising and life, influential international art collector Charles Saatchi offers such mesmerizing responses. His rejoinders to questions like ‘How can I raise £5000 in a hurry? Is it better to give than to receive? How do you sleep at night? What is the secret of inner peace?’ are curious and quirky.

You may love him; you may hate him, but cannot ignore him! Rarely has one individual has created such indelible impression on two vocations as he has managed to do. Unarguably one of brilliant copywriters, Charles Saatchi is also the enfant terrible of the contemporary art world, known to make or break artists.

Although the renowned art collector-copywriter is averse to be interviewed, this new document collates more of his frank responses to issues on art, advertising and life put to him by leading critics and journalists as well as members of the public and art lovers. In keeping with his personality, there is a bit of everything in ‘Question’ (Publisher: Phaidon Press). Charles Saatchi’s sheer arrogance and wit makes it an interesting read.

Many followers and even critics of his expected the first book to be a personalized account that would trace his topsy-turvy life between art and advertising. But that wasn’t the case, as he had little to reveal about his foray in advertising. As a critic put it, “At one level that disappointed me. However, at another, I could relate to it. Though you may belong to two worlds, ultimately you live in one.”

What he has to say about art and artists is indeed interesting. Charles Saatchi quips, “I don't buy art to ingratiate myself with artists, or as an entrée to a social circle. Of course, some artists get upset if you sell their work. But it doesn't help them whimpering about it, and telling anyone who will listen. If an artist is producing good work, someone selling a group of strong ones does an artist no harm at all, and in fact can stimulate their market.”

To put it in his words, “I don't buy art in order to leave a mark or to be remembered; clutching at immortality is of zero interest to anyone sane. Art collectors are pretty insignificant in the scheme of things. What matters and survives is the art. I buy art that I like. I buy it to show it off in exhibitions. Then, if I feel like it, I sell it and buy more. As I have been doing this for 30 years, I think most people in the art world get the idea by now. It doesn't mean I've changed my mind about the art that I end up selling. It just means that I don't want to hoard everything forever.”

‘Question’, a sequel to the first part, is a continuation of the format adopted in the latter. Like the first edition, the latest one comprises a series of questions followed by succinct and sarcastic responses on aspects related to art, money, religion, advertising, politics, music, drugs dreams and what not? He also carries on with the Damien Hirst-Jeff Koons-bashing so does with his obsession for his wife Nigella Lawson; he discusses drugs back while he was in the advertising business. The range of topics and discussions is wide.

In a way, the new volume builds on ‘My Name is Charles Saatchi and I am an Artoholic’, the maverick collector’s best selling book. ‘Question’ is a must read, especially for those who want to know just about everything possible about Charles Saatchi.