Vhils at the MUCA exposition

MUCA Hall Ground Floor

Who is Vhils?

Alexandre Farto alias Vhils was born in Lisbon in 1987. He grew up in the industrial suburb of Seixal and was strongly influenced by the urbanisation there in the 1980s and 90s. At the age of thirteen, he already began to leave his “tags” and “stencils” in streets and on trains. Later, he studied at the Byam Shaw School of Art in London and developed his unique style there: he removes the upper layers of walls with unconventional tools and thus creates portraits of a special kind.  

How does Vhils work?

Vhils is concerned with the impact of global development and homogenisation on landscapes and identities. Following his motto of destroying to create something new, he creates powerful and poetic images that aim to humanise public space. He often uses tools such as drills or explosive substance to better remove the wall layers and plaster. By removing the upper layers of the wall, he gives his portraits a haptic effect. Similar to a modern archaeologist, the artist wants to depict and expose every single layer and stage of the city’s history, as well as its influence on the inhabitants. Another aim of his work is to reflect the destruction and decay of the urban environment caused naturally. Farto’s particular working technique forms the basis for his “Scratching the Surface” project. This was first presented at the VSP Group Exhibition in Lisbon in 2007, then the following year at the Cans Festival in London.

From the favelas in Rio to the Centre Pompidou

Since 2005, Vhils has presented his work worldwide at exhibitions, events and in other contexts – from projects with communities in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro to collaborations with renowned institutions such as the Centre Pompidou or the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Vhils experiments with a variety of different media in addition to his unique ablation technique. In addition to video installations, he has also produced various music videos and short films.  

Vhils in the “Icons of Urban Art” exhibition in Munich

In the “Icons of Urban Art” exhibition at MUCA, three portraits are among the works on show. Vhils has carved these out of very different materials and with the most diverse working methods. Experience the works on plaster wall, wooden door and metal plate with us. You can book an entrance ticket here.

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Museum of Urban and Contemporary Art (MUCA)
Hotterstraße 12
80331 München