The young, internationally acclaimed artist Vhils creates technically skilled, contemporary portraits. Instead of only adding paint or other materials onto surfaces, he also carves, drills, scratches, rips, or blasts his images out of walls. With nothing less than archeological meticulousness, he penetrates through countless layers of posters, dirt, and plaster to set free the portraits hidden in urban spaces.
Alexandre Farto, alias Vhils, started developing his unusual style, which would be impossible without his outstanding handicraft and manual skill, as a graffiti artist on the streets of his Portuguese homeland at the tender age of 13. The end of a fascist dictatorship there in the 1970s led to a chaotic visual layering of socialist propaganda posters with new western European and American advertising that became fertile ground for his emerging style.
Vhils´s almost sculptural art can be seen as a productive form of destruction––figures are blasted from the plaster of walls, silhouettes carved from metal, or unsettlingly poetic portraits created using a chisel and a hammer. Vhils depicts the multiple facets of humans as social beings by using their surroundings, which can then further evolve by being blurred and painted over and maybe eventually forgotten.
Alexandre Farto studied at Central Saint Martins in London. His acclaimed work has been exhibited internationally and has appeared in a variety of publications, including on the cover of the venerable Times.
This monograph is the most extensive collection of his personal and commissioned work to date, much of which is published here for the first time. The introduction is written by Marc and Sara Schiller of Wooster Collective.