The Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto aka Vhils has developed a unique visual language based on the removal of the surface layers of walls with non-conventional tools and techniques. With many historical buildings that exude the heritage and legacy of local history, the city of Macau has served as a long-standing source of inspiration for the artist. After being invited by the Consulate General of Portugal and Hong Kong and Casa de Portugal to create a mural of the celebrated poet Camilo Pessanha at the Portuguese Consulate in Macau in 2016, the commission was extended to a broader context with an exhibition titled Debris – Works by Alexandre Farto aka Vhils. The show will reflect on the convergence of time and history, construction and demolition, and will be positioned within the dynamic stimuli imperative to Macau’s identity.
The Practice of Vhils
The work of Vhils establishes symbolic reflections on identity, life in the urban context, the passage of time, and the relationship of interdependence between people and the surrounding environment. Globally recognized for his groundbreaking carving technique, his visual poetry exemplifies the interdependent relationship between contemporary life and its urban context. Mostly working in the wall carving technique that has been hailed as the most compelling approaches to art created in the urban art scene, Vhils has been exploring his aesthetics of vandalism in a variety of media, from stencil painting to billboards and screen prints, from pyrotechnic explosions to neons. With his innovative approach, he has been continuously pushing boundaries of artistic expression.
The solo exhibition in Macau will explore the artist’s ongoing reflection on the nuanced relationships between contemporary urbanscapes and their inhabitants. It will feature more than 20 works including four new public murals inspired by Macau, drawing a connection line between the city and the artworks. New billboard pieces made from posters gathered on the street of Macau will be presented alongside door carving on doors collected in the region. The show will also feature a slow-motion video of Macau’s streets in order to create a truly immersive experience. Extending its theme outside of the gallery space, Debris will present Vihls’ murals created throughout the city – two pieces at Macau Portuguese School, Walls at Rua dos Clérigos and KEI TAC Grocery. Revealing a specific moment in global development and the artist’s own history and identity alongside his subjects, the exhibition will expose the often-forgotten collective memory of the city through the eyes of this prolific artist.
Vhils in Macau
The exhibition Debris – Works by Alexandre Farto aka Vhils will be on view at Navy Yard No. 1 – Contemporary Art Center in Macau from June 1st until November 5th, 2017. This will be the first solo exhibition of this critically acclaimed artist in Macau. The opening reception will be held on May 31st at 6.30 p.m. The exhibition is organized by HOCA, supported by Fundação Oriente, Consulado-Geral de Portugal em Macau e Hong Kong, Casa de Portugal em Macau.
Featured images: Vhils in Macau. All images courtesy of the gallery.