Vhils – ‘Debris’

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‘Debris’ is the first solo exhibition of critically acclaimed Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto AKA Vhils in Macau, the show will further explore the artist’s ongoing reflections on the nuanced relationships between contemporary urbanscapes and their inhabitants. Vhils has become globally recognized for developing a unique visual poetry that exemplifies the interdependent relationship between contemporary life and its urban context. His groundbreaking carving technique, based on removing the surface layers of walls and other media with non-conventional tools, has been hailed as one of the most compelling approaches to art created in the urban art scene. From stencil painting to wall carvings, billboards to screen prints, pyrotechnic explosions to neons, Vhils has been exploring his concept of the aesthetics of vandalism in a plurality of media, continuously pushing the boundary of artistic expression.

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Macau has served as a long-standing source of inspiration for Vhils, where many historical buildings exude the heritage and legacy of local history. At the end of 2016, Vhils was invited by the Consulate General of Portugal and Hong Kong and Casa de Portugal to create a mural of the celebrated Portuguese poet Camilo Pessanha at the Portuguese Consulate in Macau. Extending the commission to a broader context, “Debris” intends to reflect on the convergence of time and history, construction and demolition, arriving at layered compositions that embody a microcosm of the human condition, positioned within the dynamic stimuli imperative to Macau’s identity. New billboard pieces made from posters gathered on the streets of Macau, will be shown alongside door carvings on doors collected in the region. A slow-motion captured video of Macau’s streets will also be featured to create an immersive viewing experience. The themes of “Debris” are similarly manifested outside of the gallery context in the form of four public murals by Vhils throughout the city, two artworks will be presented at Macau Portuguese School (Avenida de D. João IV, Macau), whilst walls at Rua dos Clérigos (Old Taipa Village, Taipa, Macau) and KEI TAC Grocery (Rua Direita Carlos Eugénio, Taipa, Macau) will also be endowed the artist’s creative innovations. Through these interventions, the artist draws a connecting line between the city and the artworks, and firmly ties his artistic practice to his origins as an artist making markings in the streets.

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Vhils’ show in Hong Kong was listed by CNN as one of “2016’s most visually inspiring moments”. Building on last year’s momentum, “Debris” in Macau will further unveil the often-forgotten collective memory and history of the city through the lens of the artist, exposing a specific moment in global development and the artist’s own history and identity alongside his subjects. The show continues to represent HOCA’s vision and mission to promote awareness and access to contemporary art.

Featuring more than 20 works including four new public murals, inspired by Macau, ‘Debris’ opens on Wednesday May 31 at 6:30pm at Navy Yard No.1 – Contemporary Art Centre, Rua de S. Tiago da Barra, Macau.