Le Centquatre-Paris presents the first monographic exhibition by Alexandre Farto aka Vhils.The occasion for this urban explorer to present to the Parisian public an overview of his work, but also to meet the city and its inhabitants.
The larger show at Le Centquatre-Paris features a variety of unique installations occupying the exhibition rooms and central patio of the cultural institution. Comprising a blend of new media and some of the artist’s signature bodies of work, each room will showcase a different installation exploring a different medium, including: video, carved wooden doors, styrofoam sculptures, layers of carved posters, and others.
Mural frescoes, wallpapers, stencil paintings, mosaics, diversion of panels… Over the last years, street art has taken on many forms that are more and more inventive. After having exhibited in 2013 artworks by Keith Haring, a pioneer of the movement in the United States, the CENTQUATRE welcomes Vhils for a large exhibition. At the age of 30, the Portuguese artist has also upset the world of urban art, with discrete yet striking artworks, anonymous faces carved into different materials or directly on the walls.
When Vhils, by his real name Alexandre Farto, started graffiti, that is to say in the second half of the 1990s, the city of Seixal had experienced an intensive development that deeply marked him. On the walls of this industrial suburb of Lisbon in which he grew up, posters superposed themselves. Vhils discovered that he could use these supports as surfaces to sculpt. Using the stencil technique, the young artist started to carve forms and lines from which suddenly appeared faces and the past of the walls. Since then, he has carved his giant anonymous figures from Sao Paolo to Hong Kong, via Lisbon, where he still lives.
For this exhibition, around thirty artworks will be spread out in the CENTQUATRE. To better impregnate him/herself with the artist’s world, the visitor will discover in each room a different technique: wood, layers of carved posters, acid painting, engraved metal, or then again surprising polystyrene sculptures. Attacked with a chisel, with a jackhammer, with acid, the sculpted surfaces still let a certain softness emanate, like an invitation to create a dialogue thanks to artistic creation.
An urban explorer, Alexandre Farto likes to immerse himself in a city, photograph it, draw it and meet its inhabitants, before transforming his observations into an artwork. While the faces he exhibits to the passers-by and the visitors of shows are rarely identifiable, they convey the atmosphere of a city and more generally of a world in constant globalisation. As a counter measure against the risk of standardisation and withdrawal, his invitation to inhabit our cities will most certainly find an echo with the public of the CENTQUATRE-PARIS.
5 Rue Curial, 75019 Paris, France
Interview with the artist here