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Jorge Dager / Artist

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Tropos y Trópicos


Troops and Tropics Individual exhibition Jorge Dager


Ithaca has given you the beautiful journey. Without it you would not have started the way. It has nothing to give anymore.


(Fragment of the poem Ithaca, C. P. Cavafis)


An approach to the work of Jorge Dáger refers us to the origin of man and his environment: Nature. In several interviews the artist has defined his work: -As I like reality, I paint reality. His painting is steeped in realism and, above all, of wide and generous soil, an obsequious fruity pulp that removes the senses and emotions in a full and complete way.   Already in the first individual of Jorge Dáger, Natura Morta: Hyper-realization of the object, in 1994, the art critic Milagros Bello spoke of a refoundation of the concept of still life with a refocusing of the pictorial object. Since then the artist has insisted on the genre, evolving with critical sense, rigor and personal exigency, confesses: – When I feel that my paintings are perfect is because I am stagnant, and that scares me.   Let’s go back to the origins of the arts, to understand our reading and interpretation of the still life of Jorge Dáger:   Before and after the style of the modern Impressionist school, some art scholars have found Pompeian murals that represent plants, fruits and tableware, with the delicate grace and fantasy of drawing and the contrasts of colors and lights.


The objects were in medioeval painting because they had a meaning. In vanitas or vanities the objects represented were symbols of the brief and finite of life: a reminder and a warning about the relativity of knowledge, science, wealth, enjoyment of pleasures and beauty. The last fruit was decadence; the bubbles, the brevity of life and, the musical instruments, the ephemeral nature of existence. In European art, these moralizing still lifes became inseparable from the devotion of Catholics and Protestants.   But the moralizing disappeared in this genre, valued as a minor repertoire or camera in the painting, and was uncovering its eminently plastic interest. Zulbaran, Caravaggio and others had cultivated the still life, being Cézanne who gave flowers and tables with fruits, an unprecedented proposal from which Cubism derived that followed Gray, Picasso, … Dalí, at his own risk, contributed to the genre his delirious surrealist lyricism. Other artists like Antonio López have given a new air to ultra-realism within the European tradition.   Masters of Venezuelan painting in the solitude of the workshop have met with the still life. Marcos Castillo learned of Federico Brandt the secrets and the vigils of the same one. “I dedicated myself to dead nature simply because of discipline, to slow down, let’s say, my impetus. Still life forces you to draw, to look for the form, to look for the local color … “. (Carlos Silva, Marcos Castillo, Ernesto Armitano Editor, 1992).   Within the tradition where they are Poleo, Fabbiani and many others, Jorge Dáger is one last link of the chain. In his art there is a certain verismo that departs in the formal of the hyperrealistic way. The artist selects and composes with real objects, photographs, recomposes, assumes new experiences and searches with an emphasis on detail, and in this endeavor he looks, observes, draws and paints.


Jorge Dáger seems simple to give him a place within the artistic tendencies of the twentieth century, to classify and label it: as hyperrealism, radical realism or photographic realism. The origins and principles of this current, the hyperrealism, propose “a detailed and detailed version of the images” of massive objects of daily consumption, of the pagan and of the desacralizada North American life.   On the contrary, in Dáger’s work there is something much more decisive and endearing because in its fabrics the rural and semi-rural memory of our populations is fixed, there are the tastes and smells that bind us to this fertile and beautiful land, difficult and complicated. Dáger’s painting in its own way has a poetic tone emotional and emotional, touches visual cues and kinesthetic sensations identified by neurolinguistics.   In the art of Jorge Dáger there is an eagerness to perpetuate instants of the natural reality. The story stops, the passage of time has been postponed. It puts the fruit at the top of the fullness and confers it presence with attributes of cosmic sacredness or hierophany. In a moment of their artistic production they appear the containers like guacales, plastic wrappings, glass jars, ropes … that grab the objects with longing of permanence. And Dáger protects them like a confessional so they can continue talking.   The popular composer sucrense Luis Mariano Rivera sang the mango as “muy nuestro”, that mango that grows spontaneously in the American intertropical zone, came from India, the Portuguese took it to Brazil and sailed to Venezuela through Trinidad … That fruit , Jorge Dáger celebrates it, celebrates the mango that the little girl knocks down from the tree, picks it from the path to devour it with spontaneous fruition, at any time of solace. It also celebrates the fair of colors, lights, fruit textures, aromas and flavors of America like parchitas, lemons, oranges, lechozas, pears, plums, caimitos, … each one of these fruits, “its fruits” have something to tell.


I find in the proposal of Dáger a certain spiritual kinship with that of some creators of Ibero-American Art because it has a visual physical record of the mestizo and the creole. As in the painter Ana Mercedes Hoyos, in a stage of his artistic production, he realizes colorful still lifes from fresh fruit platters, fabrics that deepen the feminine negritude of the coast of Cartagena.   Jorge Dáger captures and captures in his still lifes a “direct and fundamental hyper visibility” as Milagros Bello wrote. His painting based on forced angles, close-up or macro approaches, is based on lights and sharp shadows with suggestive and emphatic punctuation. He captures and captures his concepts, giving another meaning to the visual literal in the enlarged format. The still lifes of Dáger are tropic tropes, visual metaphors of the equinox, their festive and celebratory presences are an abode. They can be both a call and an alert that invites us to preserve the environmental and cultural legacy that is ours.


Carlos Maldonado-Bourgoin


International Association of Art Critics AICA, Chapter Venezuela



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