Alexandre Farto aka Vhils began his career in the early 2000s as a graffiti writer. His art is deeply influenced by the urban transformations of the '80s and '90s. His distinctive bas-relief carving technique is what characterizes his artistic practice.
Vhils employs a subtraction technique in creating his works; walls are scratched and scraped to reveal what is not visible. Vhils' works reflect on life in globalized and uniform urban societies, exploring individual needs in a continuously changing context.
Contemporary artist Vhils (Alexandre Farto), of Portuguese origin, began his career in the early 2000s as a graffiti writer.
Growing up in the industrialized suburb of Seixal, his art is strongly influenced by the urban transformations of the '80s and '90s. In 2007, he presented his work for the first time at the VSP group exhibition in Lisbon, and the following year at the Cans Festival organized in London by Banksy.
Vhils' art stands out for its innovative bas-relief carving technique and the diversity of media he uses, ranging from stencils to metal engraving, from painting to pyrotechnic explosions, from videos to sculptural installations.
For the realization of his artworks, Vhils employs the material subtraction technique: walls are scratched and scraped with chisels and hammers used as brushes. This particular technique is not only the foundation of his Scratching the Surface project but has also been acclaimed as one of the most interesting approaches to street art in recent years.
His seemingly complex artistic practice is capable of speaking directly to human emotions. The artist Vhils places urban life at the center of his reflection, exploring the needs of the individual in a globalizing and increasingly uniform society.
Vhils draws inspiration from the influences of changes that urban space absorbs over time. He moves through space like a contemporary archaeologist, removing superficial layers to bring to light the beauty that lies trapped beneath the surface of things.
Today, Vhils' artworks can be seen in over 30 countries worldwide, thanks to site-specific interventions, solo exhibitions, and collaborations with museum and prestigious institutions such as the MAAT - Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Lisbon and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.