Overview
Lisbon, Portugal, 1987.

“Vhils is a Portuguese artist who constantly inno- vates with new techniques and approaches to his art. Much of his work is created in situ and focuses on the transitory nature of the city, its history, and the lives of its inhabitants.”

Tristan Manco, in The Guardian

 

Portuguese visual artist Alexandre Farto aka Vhils has developed a unique visual lan- guage based on the removal of the surface layers of walls and other media with non-conventional tools and techniques, establishing symbolic reflections on identity, 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. His poignant, poetic portraits chiselled 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 presented his work in over 30 countries around the world in solo and group exhibitions, site-specific art interventions, artistic events and projects in various contexts from working with communities in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, to collaborations with well reputed artistic and museological institutions such as the EDP Foundation (Lisbon), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Barbican Centre (London), CAFA Art Museum (Beijing), or the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (San Diego), among others. An avid experimentalist, besides his groundbreaking bas relief carving technique which forms the basis of the "Scratching the Surface" project, 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 one stage production.

                   

Vhils works with several leading galleries, including Vera Cortês Gallery (Portugal), Lazarides Gallery (United Kingdom), Danysz Gallery (France and China), Delimbo Gallery (Spain) and Over the Influence Gallery (Hong Kong and USA). His work is represented in several public and private collections in various countries.

Works
Biography
SOLO SHOWS | EXPOSICIONES INDIVIDUALES (selection)

2019 Incisão, CAIXA Cultural Brasília, Brasilia, Brazil

2018 Ethereal, Goldman Global Arts Gallery, Miami, USA Fragments Urbains, Le Centquatre-Paris, Paris, France Décombres, Danysz Gallery, Paris, France
Annihillation, Over the In uence Gallery, Los Angeles, USA Intrínseco, Vera Cortês Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal

2017 Remains, Over the In uence Gallery, Hong Kong SAR, China Imprint, CAFA Art Museum - China Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China
Debris - Macau, Contemporary Art Center - Naval Yard No.1, Macau SAR, China

2016 Debris, Hong Kong Contemporary Art (HOCA) Foundation, Hong Kong SAR, China

2015 Dissonance, Lazarides Gallery, London, UK 2014 Vestiges, Magda Danysz Gallery, Paris, France

Dissecção / Dissection, EDP Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal 2013 Fragmentos, Clark Art Center, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Dissolve, Skalitzers Gallery, Sydney, Australia

2012 Devoid, Lazarides Gallery, London, UK
Entropy, Magda Danysz Gallery, Paris, France Diorama, Vera Cortês Art Agency, Lisbon, Portugal Visceral, Magda Danysz Gallery, Shanghai, China

2011 Detritos, Galeria Presença, Porto, Portugal
2009 Scratching the Surface, Lazarides Gallery, London, UK

  

GROUP SHOWS & PROJECTS | EXPOSICIONES COLECTIVAS 

2018 Beyond the Streets, Werkartz, Los Angeles, USA
Arte em São Bento - Colecção António Cachola, Palácio de São Bento, Lisbon, Portugal
Art From the Streets, ArtScience Museum, Singapore

2017 Re exion of the City, Speerstra Gallery, Bursins, Switzerland
When the Sun Goes Down, Arcade Art Gallery, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan Street Generation(s), La Condition Publique, Roubaix, France

2016 Art from the Streets, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China
Choices Paris 2016 - Collector's Weekend, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France They Would Be Kings, Sotheby's Hong Kong Gallery, Hong Kong SAR, China

2015 Station to Station, Barbican Centre, London, UK
Iberian Suite - Installation, The Kennedy Center, Washington, USA Sleeping Beauty, Magda Danysz Gallery, Paris, France

2014 #Street Art, Espace Fondation EDF, Paris, France
Lasco Project #3, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France
Do Valongo à Favela, Museu de Arte do Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2013 Wooster Collective 2003-2013, Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York, USA Hecho en Oaxaca, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Oaxaca, Mexico Ex Situ, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

2012 Au-delà du Street Art, Musée de la Poste, Paris, France
Festival Images, Vevey, Switzerland
Domination, Hegemony and the Panopticon, Traf c Gallery, Dubai, UAE

2011 Shadows and Re ections, Magda Danysz Gallery, Paris, France Observadores, Museu Berardo, Lisbon, Portugal
O Museu em Ruínas, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Elvas, Elvas, Portugal

2010 Contemporary Prints From the V&A, Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, UK Viva la Revolución, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, USA Eurotrash, Lazarides Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

2009 Outsiders Selection, The Outsiders Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Grifters, Lazarides Gallery, London, UK
Tunnel 228, Curated by Punchdrunk & Old Vic Theatre, Waterloo Station Tunnels, London, UK 

 

Selected commissions & public art projects

2018 Making the Invisible Visible - Hennessy, New York, Chicago, Johannesburg, Moscow, Ho Chi Minh City, London
Intangible - SEAT × Vhils, Cascais, Portugal
Fondation Carmignac, Île de Porquerolles, France

Roteiro de Arte em Barragens | Fundação EDP, Caniçada dam, Parada do Bouro, Portugal

2017 Embassy of Portugal in China, Beijing, China Embassy of Portugal in Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand

2016 Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal GS1 Portugal headquarters, Lisbon, Portugal

2015 Heavenly Hundred Garden, Kiev, Ukraine Hyundai Card Music Library, Seoul, South Korea

2014 Le Freeport Luxembourg, Luxembourg
MAR - Museu de Arte do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2013 Fragmentos, Ladeira dos Tabajaras, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2012 Descascando a Superfície, Morro da Providência, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 

Selected public & private collections

APPortfolio Asia Collection, Shenzhen, China
China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) Art Museum, Beijing, China
Coleção de Arte Contemporânea Portugal Telecom, Lisbon, Portugal
Coleção de Arte Fundação EDP, Lisbon, Portugal
Colecção António Cachola - Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Elvas, Elvas, Portugal Collection l'Adresse Musée de la Poste, Paris, France
Hong Kong Contemporary Art (HOCA) Foundation, Hong Kong SAR, China
Hyundai Art Collection, Seoul, South Korea
MAR - Museu de Arte do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, USA

Exhibitions