“Scratching the Surface”
Portuguese-born, London-based artist Vhils, aka Alexandre Farto, “Scratching the Surface” project is a collection of giant portraits on unremarkable and decaying buildings, not painted on but actually scratched into the plaster. And it is spreading over Moscow, London, New York, Italy and Portugal. (photos)
The series, called “Scratching the Surface,” is inspired by Lisbon’s 1974 Carnation Revolution, and is remarkable for the way the works take rather depressing facades and re-contextualize them as canvases for superb art. Writing of Vhils’ 2009 show at the Lazarides gallery in London, DesignBoom says:
The exhibition 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.
Vhils’ work reminds us that even when urban settings are at their most depressing and decaying, they are still home to creative spirits who won’t be stifled by their surroundings, who make cities worth living in.