Hèctor Vargas-Salazar: Íncubo en la via Appia

Contemporary Mexican graphics

Hèctor Vargas Salazar, Vampíro Narciso macizo, ink on cardboard

Hèctor Vargas Salazar, Vampíro Narciso macizo, ink on cardboard

For this edition of RAW, ArtSharing Rome decided to host a Mexican artist, who is also well known in Europe despite his young age; thus creating an opportunity for exchange between two cultures and continents.
Íncubo en la via Appia is a site specific project, which collects graphic works with different media, a good part of them were created for the occasion.
The theme is that of a horrific vision brought to the light of the city of Rome: a subject that has ancient roots, from the time of Piranesi’s disturbing distortions were introduced into the visions of the ruins that renewed the fortune of our city in lovers of the Grand Tour supporters of the new genre of Gothic.

It is no coincidence that the Otranto Castle, by Horace Walpole, was written in 1764 inspired by the Piranesi Prisons.

A journey that began in the XVIII century and that goes from the Sublime to the Unconscious: here, then, that the monstrous and visually violent figures of Hèctor Vargas Salazar have their roots in Surrealism and, above all, in that special declination born in Mexico since the 1930s and which has found some of the leading exponents in artists such as Leonora Carrington and José Luis Cuevas.

Death, spirits and monstrous beings acquire a very special role in traditional Mexican culture, with collective rituals that are difficult for us who are on this side of the ocean to fully understand: a sort of challenge to the unknown, to the demonic and to the ancestral fears, a brazen coexistence between the local pre-colonial tradition and Catholicism imported and imposed from the sixteenth century.

An imaginative that has never lost its strength, indeed renewing itself in the instances of the 21st century and also recently adopting visual formulas close to comics and illustration.

The nightmare characters of Hèctor Vargas are the monsters of contemporary society, where - as he himself affirms - under the sophisticated appearance of the capitalist West, we are still driven by the same impulses of vital aggression of the origins of humanity. These impulses are all the more disturbing and destabilizing as they are hypocritically clothed, trying to tame them to make them socially acceptable.

As he himself explains, the exhibition offers us "nightmarish beings that manifest themselves in the Eternal City through the vision of a Mexican artist who, due to his territorial, historical and colonial condition, is also Latin