Vhils

[
Lisbon, Portugal
]

Vhils is the alias of artist...

Alexandre Farto, who was born in Portugal and grew up on the outskirts of Lisbon, in an area that had been deeply affected by the Carnation Revolution in 1974. His experience of the contrast between utopian socialist dreams, as expressed in the amazing murals that covered the walls from that time, and the stark reality of a developing capitalist society in the 1980s provides us with background to the pieces he creates by dissecting poster ads and carving into or excavating walls with tools such as etching acid, bleach, pneumatic drills and other processes, to reveal their layers.

Alexandre explains what inspires him: "I try focusing on the act of destruction to create; this is something I have brought over from graffiti. I believe we are all composed by layer upon layer of social and historical fabric. Our social system is the product of this same process of layers, and I believe that by removing and exposing some of these layers—in fact, by destroying them—we might be able to reach something purer, something of what we used to be and have forgotten all about. It's all very symbolical so take it as a semi-archaeological dissecting of layers of history and culture."

Vhils values the idea of turning ordinary common people into icons, and many of his images are based on photos of people that he takes from magazines, Sebastião Salgado's work or with his own camera. He comes to Miami for the first time in 2011, and the portrait he will create for the Wynwood Doors will be featured in the next edition of this book.