VHILS

Alexandre Farto

Lisbon, Portugal,1987
Lives and works between London and Lisbon

Alexandre Farto aka Vhils destroys to create. Not yet 30 years-old, he is a Portuguese street artist who openly operates under his real name, Alexandre Farto. His internationally recognised trademark is the forming of dramatic, oversized portraits made by carving directly into outdoor walls. The process often involves industrial methods such as drilling and controlled explosions.

The majority of Farto’s subjects are anonymous and formerly unremarkable urban citizens. In a 2011 interview with UK Wiredmagazine, the artist said of this direction “They are all people I have met briefly in cities where I have created murals. I like the idea of turning ordinary, common people into icons, to contrast this with the need people seem to have to create icons in the first place. Instead of creating icons out of people who have changed history, like what Warhol was doing with Mao and others, I take an ordinary person and try and make people think about the ordinary citizens who struggle everyday to eke a living in contemporary society.” An exception is a 2012 mural made in Vivey, Switzerland, interpreting Renee Burri’s famous photograph of a latter-day Che Guevara.

Alexandre Farto pioneered the use of TNT in his “sculptures” with a tour de force music video demonstrating his own detonative techniques, made for the track MIRIAM by Portuguese fusion band Orelha Negra.

The versatile artist’s gallery work includes portraits on found objects and the use of man-made materials, often second-hand. Advertising hoardings are selectively torn to reveal contrasting colours from the older fly posters underneath. In Devoid, his latest exhibition at Lazarides Rathbone, humble styrofoam appeared sculpted into majestic cityscapeswith “buildings” forming a three-dimensional human face.

VHILS Artworks

Visual Cacophony #4


  • University of the Arts London – Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design: Byam Shaw Fine Art Skills and Practices

  • Projeto Memória, Teatro Nacional Dona Maria II, Lisbon, Portugal

  • Passage 46, Freiburg Theater, Freiburg, Germany

  • Phytology Project, Bethnal Green Nature Reserve, London, UK

  • Le Freeport Luxembourg, Luxembourg

  • Escola Secundária Dr. José Afonso, Seixal, Portugal

  • - MAR – Museu de Arte do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia, USA

  • Le M.U.R., Paris, France

  • ArtBO – Bogotá International Art Fair, Vera Cortês Art Agency booth, Bogotá, Colombia

  • O Futuro Não Conheço. O Passado, Já Não o Tenho, Entrance of ABBC building, Lisbon, Portugal

  • Reinstallation of Building 3 Steps at MACE – Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Elvas, Elvas, Portugal

  • Scaling the Great Wall of China, event produced by Jason Associates, Hotel Ritz, Lisbon, Portugal

  • Compact Life, Vera Cortês Art Agency, Lisbon, Portugal

  • Building 3 Steps – Part III, Galeria Promontório Arquitectos, Alexandre Farto & Miguel Maurício, Lisbon, Portugal

  • Building 3 Steps – Part II, Galeria Promontório Arquitectos, Alexandre Farto & Miguel Maurício, Lisbon, Portugal

  • Building 3 Steps – Part I, Galeria Promontório Arquitectos, Alexandre Farto & Miguel Maurício, Lisbon, Portugal

  • Arte Lisboa 2006, Vera Cortês Art Agency booth, Alexandre Farto & Martinha Maia, Lisbon, Portugal

  • Fundação Oriente, Lisbon, Portugal

  • MACE – Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Elvas, Elvas, Portugal

  • Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, USA

  • Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK

  • Perez Art Museum Miami, Miami, USA

  • PT Data Center, Covilhã, Portugal

  • Collection Si Particulière, Paris, France

  • Coleção Alfredo Hertzog da Silva, São Paulo, Brazil

  • Coleção Luciana e Luis Antonio Almeida Braga, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • Collection Nicolas Laugero Lasserre, Paris, France