VHILS is the tag name of Portuguese graffiti/street artist Alexandre Farto (born in 1987) He gained prominence when his work of a face carved into a wall appeared alongside a picture by street artist Banksy at the Cans Festival in London in 2008. A photograph of him creating the work appeared on the front page of The Times.
He was later given space to show his work by Banksy’s agent, Steve Lazarides. Several of his works were featured in Outsiders, a collection of street art published by Century, 2008
Can an act of destruction create art? Working with hammers, explosives, chisels and pneumatic drills, Vhils reshapes the canvas to fit his art. He experiments using everything from explosives to etching acid and bleach on materials found in the urban space. Neither the viewer nor the artist can be sure how these elements will react.
“Generations meet and fall apart. Cultures are compelled to flow into big cities and gather there, the “Western bastion”, a world of dreamt opportunities that steals our roots, identity layers that overlap and are diluted, certain to create a new culture and to thin our essence, the path we want to follow is the one that leads us towards forgetting the place we came from…” (Lafamiglia Magazine)
“With my work, I try to delve into the several layers that compose the edifice of history, to take the shadows cast by this model of uniform development to try and understand what lies behind it.” (Vhils)
“In this act of excavating, it’s the process itself which is expressive, more than the final result. It’s a process of trying to reflect upon our own layers.” (Vhils)
Vhils’ work reaches to uncover the essence of things - to show what lies beneath.