Wanderlino Arruda
Djalma Souto


The Master Konstatin Christoff

It was in 1974 that, in one of my conversations with Konstatin, came the idea of having an art exposition in Montes Claros. It would be an outdoor fair or exposition, in a square, on a sunny day. All our artists would exhibit their art and handicraft together. It would be an organized association, but with no by- laws, no president, no treasurer or board of directors. All equal, side by side, no favored places, no chosen positions. Of course there would be order but it would be the discipline of friendship, of companionship, of consideration, no one commanding anyone else. What Konstantin requested at that time, was that we never register it officially. It must be a free society, so that artists could come and go as they please. Would you like to display your artwork? Be at the right prefixed place and time and everything should be just fine. Inscriptions? What for? There would be only one office, that of the coordinator. This was because some one was needed to at least answer the telephone and give information. After all names were mentioned and weighed, I was chosen for the honor of being this “someone”. There was no vote. It was just decided.

The story about the exposition isn’t the oldest memory I have of Konstantin, since we were friends back when we were students at the North Mineiro Institute. Students, passing in front of his house on Don Juan Pimenta street, and he giving advice, speaking to us like a brother. He was a really considerate guy to the young men. I remember watching him prepare illustrations for magazines
From Montes Claros and Belo Horizonte, once in a while collaborating with commemorative editions of whatever, in the city’s newspapers. I remember him as a doctor, serious and celebrity, at the city emergency room in the Holy House Hospital, a surgeon of the highest caliber. I remember the consideration that all the young marriage aged girls had for him, that big blond guy, fashionably long hair, Arian style beard, light eyes, the Viking sailor look, financially well off already, in other words, the ideal type of son in law that any mother would desire for her daughter.

Life continues, and Konstantin Christoff also continues in the history of Montes Claros. Always admired, always loved, an icon of our higher art. Painting, sculpture, drawing…growing more competent each day. He was always around and about with theorist studies, a complete artist, stimulating the young, criticizing the old and fossilized, always suggesting. He was an encyclopedia of the arts and their worth. How great it was to observe two great artists at the same time, Konstantin and Godofredo Guedes, at Godo’s studio on Rui Barbosa street. One complemented the other. Godofredo was the classicist, academic, the rigorous choice of color, painting always from left to right and from top to bottom, as in writing. He worked like a modern computer color printer. Godo would never let the details escape, however small they may be. Not Konstantin… a revolutionary, an iconoclast, no detail whatsoever, no obedient colors, only firm, quick brushstrokes, in an almost playful manner. Sometimes he would do caricature. For Godofredo, Konstantin was a crazy genius, an anarchist. But how he admired him!

The time passes and Konstantin is always the winner. Someone greater than a master. A simple signature of his can transform an ordinary piece of paper, an empty canvas, into a work of art. A phenomenal magician. Well received, yesterday and today. With expositions in larger cities of this, and other countries, he has become a favorite of the specialized press. Our pride!

Now that you are exhibiting at the Event Square in the Montes Claros shopping center, I salute you, my brother and friend Konstantin Christoff!

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