Gustavo Charif｜樗 Ailanthus
Ailanthus (or The Living Museum of Art by Nature)
古斯塔沃‧沙里夫 Gustavo Charif
Old frames, hemp rope, found objects, eco paint
I don't know how to make a masterpiece, but I know that to learn how to paint or produce art is necessary first to learn how to see. The lines of a bark's tree, the storm over the ocean, that design of the rainbow leaf beetle (or Chrysolina cerealis) are arguably expressions of the Universe in its subtle and spontaneous manners. In some way, it's art from a natural talent who never was contaminated by art schools, trends or market.
I only found a museum of art in this natural space, in Guandu, and I stressing the lines using her elements (branches, leaves, stones), but also trash that I found in forests and rivers from different countries (like broken toys) because, as Chuang-Tzu teach us in that passage about the "useless" (Ailanthus), uselessness is useful if we found the usefulness.
This project is strongly linked to my own life, in which I am more and more identify with the useless tree rather than the useful “artist”.
Let's meet Gustavo Charif from Argentina, the artist of 2016 Guandu International Nature Art Festival!
Q: Why do you want to participate in this art project?
A: There're three main reasons. First, I used to live in big cities and I used any kind of material for artworks. However, I wanted to change my way of approach, so I started to use more recycled materials since last year. This art project requires using natural materials, and this has interested me. Next, I was fascinated by "Zhuangzi" when I was ten years old. I also read "Zhuangzi" in French and Italian. My opinion is that if you want to learn a culture, you have to study from inside. So you must learn its language. The idea of "doing nothing" has influenced me a lot. In this art project, I think it's important to disappear as an artist, but be a receptor of nature. Last, why humans cry and laugh is because they want to express themselves. When there's any imbalance that humans can't express though laughters and tears, they show it through art. And nature has its own way of expression. You'll never find a better designer than nature itself. That's why I found the subject of this year "Base on a True Story" interesting.
Q: Any ideas for your artwork this time?
A: With nature, I believe it is more important to "see" than to "do". I will spend much time on observations, highlighting the things I found with frames, and make some collages. I think found objects are scenes themselves.
Q: Do you do framing because you are in favor of the gallery form of presenting art?
A: I think art should come out of the gallery. It belongs to everyone. I use frames for seeing. You can only see things when you know how to see.
Q: This is your first time to visit Taiwan. How do you find Guandu and Taiwan so far?
A: After I actually arrived here, I found the webpage of the art project didn’t show the full beauty of Guandu. The variety of animals and plants here is beyond my imagination. People are friendly too. Taipei also surprised me. I found the people here taking good care of children. Kids here seem to have no stress, and they don’t shout or make loud noises in public. When a county has love for children, it is a country with future.
Gustavo Charif shows his works since 1986 and took part in exhibitions side by side with Pierre Alechinsky, Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Antonio Saura, among others.
Have an artist's book with Fernando Arrabal and Milan Kundera (exhibited at his individual exhibition "Alexandria", Centro Cultural Borges, 2004).
His first feature length film, "The Reason" (2010) includes an unreleased song by Moby.
2012: he represented Argentina (embassy booth) in Art Expo Malaysia, with a one man show.
2013: the State of Qatar requested him an artwork exhibited at the "Peace & Security Forum".
2015: takes part of "The Selfie Show" (Museum of New Art, Detroit, USA) in a selection with artists as Gao Brothers (China), among others.
Last exhibitions in international fairs: Art Osaka (Japan), CUTLOG Paris (France), CUTLOG New York (USA).
His second feature film is on production (2017).