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    Miguel Von Dangel / Juan Calzadilla
    Sacrifixiones : Miguel von Dangel. -- Caracas, Venezuela : Galería XX2, 1969
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays
    Calzadilla, Juan. "Miguel Von Dangel". In Sacrifixiones: Miguel von Dangel.  Caracas, Venezuela: Galería XX2, 1969.

Juan Calzadilla wrote this critical text as a preface to the catalogue for Miguel von Dangel’s exhibition Sacrifixiones (1969). The essay starts with comments on the artist’s beginnings in taxidermy. Calzadilla explains how, during his time at Escuela de Artes Plásticas Cristóbal Rojas, the artist became aware that life can also be conferred on inanimate objects through the spirit, using objects related to religious rites as an example. In the critic’s opinion, von Dangel’s works go through a process of “reverse dissection;” that is, the artist creates life by modeling creatures (ritual and symbolic) inspired by popular art. Calzadilla believes the artist makes use of domestic and folkloric elements, thus establishing a discourse on the human spirit, although he always uses the universal language of art.


The Venezuelan poet, critic and draftsman Juan Calzadilla (b. 1931) wrote this preface to the catalogue for Sacrifixiones, an exhibition by Miguel von Dangel (b. 1946) held in Galería XX2, Caracas, in 1969. This was von Dangel’s first exhibition showing assemblages including elements taken from nature and waste materials, clearly influenced by the objetos mágicos created by another Venezuelan artist, Mario Abreu. The text is focused on highlighting the ties that bind the Venezuelan painter/sculptor born in Germany to nature, closely linked to his youthful experience in the discipline of taxidermy. This situation is broadly and profusely emphasized by the critic, who regards it as a characteristic of von Dangel’s work. Calzadilla notes the technical aspect of the work, since the invention of the method of “reverse dissection” is first and foremost an active creative principle. That is why the writer focuses attention on the “artistic” condition of these pieces above any “esoteric” interpretation, including religious and magical. Moreover, the critic warns against possible interpretations of these works based on their condition as ritual or folkloric objects. In Calzadilla’s opinion, although these works contain these elements, such elements should not overwhelm the importance of the artistic values in the works.


[For other critical texts on the work of von Dangel, see the ICAA digital archives: Yasmin Monsalve’s text “Mi obra ha tenido que luchar contra muchos prejuicios: Un premio nacional visto con la luz de Petare” (doc. no. 1102125); two other texts written by Elsa Flores, “Miguel Von Dangel: La respuesta latinoamericana (I)” (doc. no. 1155150) and “Miguel Von Dangel: La respuesta latinoamericana (III)” (doc. no. 1154906); Roberto Montero Castro’s essay “Transfiguraciones de Miguel Von Dangel,” published in 1986 (doc. no.1153996); two articles written by María Luz Cárdenas, “La Batalla de San Romano de Von Dangel (I) (doc. no. 1154028) and “La Batalla de San Romano de Von Dangel (II)”(doc. no. 1154092); Ruth Auerbach’s text “Hoy, el paisaje es aquí y ahora,” published in 1996 (doc. no. 855314); Enrique Viloria’s text “Miguel Von Dangel: La conservación del paisaje americano” (doc. no. 1154827); and one by Lourdes Blanco “Miguel von Dangel” (doc. no. 1097326); Francisco Da Antonio’s untitled text [Cristos de Miguel von Dangel] (doc. no. 1154108); and one by Juan Carlos Palenzuela “ De engaños y otras lidias” (doc. no. 1154044)].
Josefina Manrique
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Reproduced with permission of Juan Calzadilla, Caracas, Venezuela
CINAP. Centro de Informacion Nacional de Artes Plásticas. Galería de Arte Nacional, Plaza Los Museos, Los Caobos, Caracas.