Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Guillermo Habacuc Vargas, animal abuser

If you think the concept of "art" has stretched to encompass the most nonsensical rubbish a-la Damien Hirst, you may have to rethink your references. By comparison, Hirst is indeed the 21st century's own Leonardo Da Vinci.
Because now under the guise of art some people will go as far as including the most obnoxious, sadistic, cruel actions. The story of Guillermo "Habacuc" Vargas, a so-called 'visual artist' from Costa Rica is the ultimate case in point.

Last year the 32-year-old egomaniac took part in a show in Managua, Nicaragua, with a monstrosity called "Exposición N° 1". Days before, he had paid a few children to get hold of an emaciated stray dog. He then proceeded to tie the animal to a wall by a length of rope with Eres Lo Que Lees ("You Are What You Read") written on the wall in dog food. That was it, that was Vargas' exhibit. Except that the dog (by then named "Nativity") was to slowly starve to death, live, in the art gallery.

According to animal rights groups, security prevented anybody to approach the dog and even feed him. Initially, Guillermo Vargas issued a statement saying that the work was a tribute to a burglar, Nativity Canda, killed by two rottweilers in Nicaragua. But as the furore over animal cruelty grew, the self-appointed artist felt that he had to issue a radically different statement, arguing that "The purpose of the work was not to cause any type of infliction on the poor, innocent creature, but rather to illustrate a point. [...] Thousands of stray dogs starve and die of illness each year in the streets and no one pays them a second thought". In other words, Vargas wanted to bring out the "hypocrisy in all of us".

Which is not suprising. Part of human cruelty is the ability to argue the toss, turn it over and toss it again in order to justify the unjustifiable. Russia is bombing the shit out of a sovereign country and is dressing it up as "defending the interests of Russian nationals over there". Hitler did what he did by saying he was defending his own country from Jew domination. And the worst examples of animal cruelty are always concealed with all sorts of claptrap, from pest control, to tradition, through the god-given right to dress up like a moron and chase a fox or maul a bull.
Hence the counter-rumours and lies such as the Gallery hosting the event fiercely denying that the dog had died in there (claims at odds, anyway, with Vargas' own admission).
But the fact remains that Guillermo Vargas "Habacuc" shouldn't have hunted the dog, let alone tied it with one short cord to the walls of the gallery and kept it there without water and food, no matter what idiotic point about hypocrisy he may wish to make. How about someone whacking Vargas in the face and sticking a needle up his arse to highlight the nature of karma?

Guillermo Vargas Habacuc has been invited to participate in 2008 in the prestigious Central American Biennial of Honduras as the official representative of Costa Rica. If you think that shouldn't happen, please sign this petition here.

Stop Guillermo Habacuc Vargas


Jean said...

He's an absolute jerk of the highest order.

Brian said...

Well written and all that - now you just need too learn how to check your facts, and write a subtraction. The dog wasn't hurt, well not by Vargas, but by society.