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What lies behind Alexandre Farto’s walls « DressLab : clothes+music+art
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What lies behind Alexandre Farto’s walls

Author: Luisa Bernal

Section: LAB

Date: 10.2011


Alexandre Farto, aka Vhils (1987), believes that the origin of his urban interventions lies in having grown up in a working class neighbourhood in Lisbon surrounded by the remains of murals and messages from the Carnation Revolution.

The young Portuguese artist living in London is able to find life where other people only discern motionless walls. Alexandre digs into the façades bringing ghosts to the surface, whose expressions seem to have a lot to say.


Alexandre Farto l DressLab.com


His portraits don’t belong to models’ faces that simulate staring at us from splendid office buildings in the centre of any other Western city. In the images chosen by Vhils, we can almost imagine the people that lived behind the degraded intercepted walls. Every wrinkle and glance seems to tell a story about what was lived in that house…


Alexandre Farto l DressLab.com


The mere creative process of his works, as if they were small controlled explosions, already demands our complete attention.



On a symbolic level, there’s a difference between superimposing a template on a wall and sculpting its surface to build a portrait from the very material that supports the building.


Alexandre Farto l DressLab.com


Farto aims to makes us question destruction as a form of creation: ‘We are all made up of a superimposition of layers and what surrounds us is one of them. By decomposing some of these layers, we might regain something we lost along the way. The work is almost archeological trying to find what lies beneath the surface and demonstrating how ephemeral everything is’. The beauty of the montages made by the artist himself to demonstrate his working process, achieve that it’s not just the final result that attracts our admiration.



Farto likes his work to occupy spaces where adverts or political propaganda may hang but, above all, he likes to work on public spaces for the richness of textures of the walls and paper that allows for chance to play on his work when faced with the wind, rain and a natural destruction process. ‘My aim is that identity, place and memory become one’.


+ info. Alexandre farto




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