Portuguese visual artist Alexandre Farto aka Vhils(b. 1987) 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. His work presents symbolic reflections on identity, exploring the relationship of interdependence between people and the surrounding environment, and life in contemporary urban societies, as well as the impact of development, the passage of time, and material transformation. 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.
“The stand-up piece with carved billboard posters is part of an ongoing body of works, exploring the concept of reciprocal shaping and seeking to reflect on how human identity is both formed and conditioned by the city's imposing visual discourse present in its public spaces. Carving into these thick layers brings an assortment of random elements to the surface creating a physical manifestation of the constantly evolving visual identity of urban life.
The set of portraits carved directly onto the old library doors are very simple pieces that play with the house's material and immaterial heritage, its fabric and texture, its history, making symbolically visible that which lies beneath the surface of things, inviting viewers to reflect on the intimate relationship between people and the places they live in.
Each of these artworks depicts an anonymous person, someone all of us can identify with, representative of the way in which we interact with the forces shaping our contemporary world.” – Alexandre Farto aka Vhils
Click here to see a short clip of the artworks installed in the house.