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Jasper Joffe Mixes Royal Family with Pornography

"Does The Royal Family Like Pornography" asks Joffe's latest exhibition on at The Sartorial Contemporary Art Gallery.

Jasper Joffe is an artist whose practice is so deeply rooted in satire that sometimes it’s difficult to tell exactly who he’s taking a swipe at – is it himself, the viewer, the subject, the art industry or just the whole goddamn shebang? His latest exhibition is no exception, contrasting massive paintings of people engaged in various sexual acts with portraits of the royal family. The show explores status, aesthetics, objectification and, of course, porn. It’s sure to cause as much controversy as the painting of Himmler Joffe recently sold to Charles Saatchi, so we thought we’d catch up with the artist to find out just how far he was prepared to go in the name of art…

DazedDigital: What has inspired you to ask such an impertinent question of our beloved royals Jasper?
Jasper Joffe: I have nothing major against the royal family, just the usual annoyance about a bunch of nobodies being paid by us to pretend to rule our country. I just wanted to find a way to get people to look at pornography afresh, and somehow the absurd contrast of Queen E and hardcore porn fit the bill.
DD: What is your own attitude to pornography... are you a lover or a hater?
JJ: I am an in-betweener. I enjoy looking at it, but I’m not sure it's good for me, or others (women especially), which is why I am doing this show. I am still waiting to come to a conclusion about porn – one day I think it's fine, the next it seems like the visual equivalent of Mein Kampf.

DD: Martin Amis once described porn stars as modern day gladiators – what do you think of them?
JJ: I am not interested in porn stars (possibly some are very good, and some are exploited) – they seem just like a sub-category of models. Then there is the whole thing about amateur and homemade porn. I think pornography needs to maintain the illusion that it's real, and the idea of famous porn actors makes that less possible. Perhaps in five years time we will be watching “America's Next Top Porn Star” on TV at 9pm.

DD: If the royal family does enjoy pornography, which member do you imagine is most fond of it?
JJ: I am only painting The Queen, Prince Phil and their kids. Of that gang the one who looks most lascivious is Andrew, although the Queen does have a busty sensuality to her.

DD: I'm guessing you believe our society is still rampantly misogynistic?
JJ: Yep. Why do men hate women? I don't think they do, I don't think I do. So, what's it all about? I think it's a habit, which it takes an effort to get out of, but we are bombarded with information telling us how men and women are, and it's hard to think for yourself. Sexism seems so boring and old now – people don't want to talk about it even though it’s still a problem.
DD: You seem to have dealt here mainly with heterosexual porn…
JJ: Yes, all the porn is hetero. I thought of doing gay porn, but as I am not a user I thought it wouldn't mean much to me. Though, it would sort of give a different angle, no pun intended.
DD: Would you ever consider getting naked with the queen on camera?
JJ: No. Although, my mind does wander while the paintbrush tickles her shiny jewels on the canvas.

“Does The Royal Family Like Pornography” is at The Sartorial Contemporary Art Gallery, Kings Cross, from November 19th to December 13th.