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Monday 13 July 2009

VHILS (AKA Alexandre Farto), Scratching The Surface at Lazarides this Summer

The first UK solo show from Vhils, AKA Alexandre Farto (b.1987), features a series of new works inspired by his native city of Lisbon at a time of revolution.

I love Lazarides Gallery. I feel that the gallery takes chances with artists, and shows the type of art that has momentum and a wider meaning. Being the first gallery to show Farto’s work in the UK, especially with Farto being only 22 is a risk, particularly in this economy when galleries need to be selling artwork. So – I am even more inspired and impressed with Lazarides. Outsiders, compiled by Steve Lazarides was a fantastic collection on urban art, have you picked up that book yet?

Farto’s show, entitled Scratching the Surface, reflects on revolution as a time when walls turn into instruments of communication and hope for the masses, and the remnants of which become a decaying playground for this young artist as he searches for his place and identity.

By re-contextualising the urban setting, Vhils explores and questions the many dimensions of cities and their inhabitants in a series of playful works. Focusing on the people that inhabit the artist’s multicultural environment Vhils draws attention to the layers that underlie it. A set of portraits of unknown faces use unconventional techniques and materials; acid and bleach eat into surfaces to expose the layers beneath, the act of destruction becoming an act of creation, posters that exemplify a consumer society are subtly converted into objects poignantly celebrating humankind.

In his street work he discards posters, metal and paper and comes face to face with the rawness of the naked wall. He continues his celebration of the humanity underlying the urban canvas, this time by scratching beautiful portraits directly onto its walls. Vhils has exhibited in major European cities as well as in the USA, and most recently he was invited to take part in the widely acclaimed ‘Tunnel 228’ show in London's Waterloo.

The exhibition will coincide with the launch of his new book: Scratching the Surface, the show continues until 1 August 2009. www.lazinc.com

Image credit: (c) Alexandre Farto

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