VHILS – Poetischer Vandalismus

Feature on VHILS in “Das Ideale Heim Magazin” from February 2024.

Alexandre Farto aka Vhils (b. 1987, Lisboa) has developed a unique visual language based on the removal of the surface layers of walls and other media with non-conventional tools and techniques. Having begun to interact with the urban environment through the practice of graffiti in the early 2000s, Vhils has been hailed as one of the most innovative
artists of his generation. His poignant, poetic portraits chiseled into flaking walls can be seen adorning cityscapes around the world. Based on his aesthetics of vandalism, Vhils destroys as a means to create. He carves, cuts, drills, etches and blasts his way through the layers of materials. Yet, like an archaeologist, he removes in order to expose, bringing to light the beauty that lies trapped beneath the surface of things.

Since 2005 he has been presenting his work around the world in exhibitions, events and other contexts – from working with communities in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, to collaborations with well-reputed institutions such as MAAT – Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (Lisbon); Contemporary Arts Center (Cincinnati); Le Centquatre-Paris (Paris); CAFA Art Museum (Beijing); Hong Kong Contemporary Art Foundation (Hong Kong); Palais de Tokyo (Paris); and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (San Diego), among others.

An avid experimentalist, besides his groundbreaking bas-relief carving technique, Vhils has been developing his personal aesthetics in a plurality of media: from stencil painting to metal etching, from pyrotechnic explosions and video to sculptural installations. He has also directed several music videos, short films, and two stage productions. His work is represented in several public and private collections in various countries.


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