A new solo show by Portuguese street artist Alexandre Farto, aka Vhils, opens this month at Danysz Gallery in Shanghai, with a selection of previously unpublished works.
‘Latency’, Vhils explains, is “guided by (his) ongoing exploration of the meaning of objects and their use, as well as an introspective reflection concerning the effects of recent global events. This new cycle captures different symbolic material elements of contemporary culture, encapsulating them in a latent state and allowing them to be preserved and rediscovered in the future.”
Born in 1987, Vhils made his mark in the early-to-mid 2000s as a respected graffiti writer following his studies at London’s Central Saint Martins, and his work has been presented in over 30 countries around the world.
Having collaborated with esteemed art institutions such as London’s Barbican Centre, artistically supporting indigenous peoples and working with favela residents in Rio de Janeiro, his work has been described as ‘brutal and complex, yet imbued with a simplicity that speaks to the core of human emotions.’
As he carves into walls and other surfaces with his experimental approach, dignified faces are revealed like fossils. Textured layers reflect the history of urban development. Breaking through superficial layers, he explores the aspirations and struggles of individuals and communities as globalisation increases it’s hold, social identity is eroded and cultural uniqueness fades.
From his signature bas-relief carving technique, stencil paintings and metal etchings to pyrotechnic explosions, video (he’s directed music videos including U2’s “Raised by Wolves), and sculptural installations, he continues to win critical acclaim.
For Latency, his ‘creative destruction’ pushes his exploration of visual fragmentation with his belief that “no other generation has been so exposed to this incessant flow of information either on the street or on the screen. All this visual stimulation really defines the age we live in and has an impact on our attention span, which in turn is fragmented…”
Latency is Vhils’ third exhibition in Shanghai and runs from 11 September to 14 November 2021.
Danysz Gallery, 256 Beijing East Road x Jiangxi Road, Shanghai