Kriptonita is one of the most paradigmatic works by Salvadoran artist Waterio Iraheta. It implies a single word that transports us irremediably to that rarity which produced in Superman, the man of steel, effects contrary to those qualities that made him an indestructible superhero. However, Iraheta’s work is based on the antithesis of the perfect hero archetype – a corpulent figure with Anglo-Saxon features and an impeccable appearance. First of all, his story begins with the representation of a super-boy with clearly local features, a boy who from up on high, amidst the clouds, is posed in the classic position, his hands on his waist to better show the “S” that covers his chest. This new version of the man of steel provokes a series of readings that put the myth in question and then, by substitution, propose a reconsideration of the limits of heroism. Who are the real heroes? Without a doubt, they are those who lack supernatural powers and yet still resolve the problems of existence in the planetary realm where madness and extreme deficiencies dwell.
Kriptonita also explores the object representation of the mythical character from the world of comic books, evoking that silent conversation that every child has with his or her toys. In this personification of the alter ego, Superman shares his existence with those religious objects from childhood that accumulated in domestic alters, in treasure boxes or on nightstands, becoming the last thing one sees at night and thereby the main constructor of the dreamed world. Given their hypothetical parallel existence, the characters speak to each other, exchanging wisdom, beliefs, existential worries or flying lessons.
If we had become used to Walterio bringing us miniscule drawings and photographic collages filled with nostalgia, Kriponita shows us the artist’s need to rebel for a moment against his own technical and narrative precision. Iraheta is of the generation that grew up with television and cartoons like daily bread. And it is from that experience that Walterio brings us this collection of situations that transport us to an imagined world that has been decoded by the artist, based on the immediacy of the symbolic value of objects and the collective urgency to locate its messages in a habitat that is familiar, possible, reachable, and real.
Rosina Casali, Guatemala, October 2004