CAFA Art Museum, Mural Painting Department of Central Academy of Fine Arts, The Embassy of Portugal in China and Vhils Studio are pleased to present “Imprint”, the first solo exhibition in Beijing by critically acclaimed Portuguese visual artist Alexandre Farto aka Vhils.
Featuring an entirely new body of works, “Imprint” will be showcased at CAFA Art Museum, Gallery 3B, between 30 June and 23 July 2017. The opening ceremony with the presence of the artist will take place on 30 June (Friday). The exhibition is organised by CAFA Art Museum and Mural Painting Department of Central Academy of Fine Arts in association with the Embassy of Portugal in China and Vhils Studio, and supported by REN – Redes Energéticas Nacionais, China Three Gorges International Corporation, and UNICER.
Singled out by Forbes magazine in their 2015 “30 under 30s” success list in the “Art and Style” category, Vhils is renowned for his signature visual language based on an original carving technique applied to an assortment of mediums. His work offers a meaningful reflection on the relationship between people and the urban environment, highlighting the poetic dimension of the present-day human condition in contemporary urban societies. Known for his substantial portraits carved into buildings and other structures in public spaces, Vhils is also the author of a vast body of works presented in solo and group exhibitions in various countries around the world.
“Imprint” will further explore the artist’s ongoing reflection on the nuanced relationship between contemporary cities and their inhabitants.
Alexandre Farto aka Vhils has been developing an ongoing reflection on contemporary urban societies and the fertile complexity of the modern city, which has matured into a significant artistic statement on the present-day human condition.
Rooted in the visual narrative that Vhils has been presenting on walls since starting the Scratching the Surface series in 2007, Imprint constitutes a unique installation featuring the use of a single medium—the author's signature bas-relief wall carving technique. Comprising some 70 portraits—each carved into a freestanding monolithic structure—the present exhibition is a pivotal statement that seeks to expand on the fundamental premise behind this series: the act of working with the city itself as the prime material while focussing on the concept of reciprocal shaping—by which both the city and its citizens develop a shared character.
Despite taking the reality of Beijing as a starting point, this installation aims at being symbolically representative of the processes at work in any other city around the world.
Expressing the artist's organic approach to creation, the legion of poignant, silent portraits presented here can be seen as a sample of the myriad stories that breathe life into the city. Speaking of how individuals are affected differently by the urban environment and social context they live in, each displays a unique imprint. Yet, while each portrait speaks of individuality and uniqueness, the materials on which they are carved speak significantly of uniformity and homogenisation, as these mass-produced plasterboards can be easily found on construction sites and buildings all over the world.
Together with the artist's aspiration to humanise the urban landscape, the present exhibition seeks to make us consider the present human condition in face of the entropic complexity of the city. Imprint is thus both an analytical look at the characteristics of contemporary urban life and a poetic gesture highlighting the identitarian transformation at the heart of this new chapter in human development.
Imprint – Works by Alexandre Farto aka Vhils
Exhibition period: 30 June 2017 – 23 July 2017
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 9:30am – 5:30pm; Last admission 5:00pm. Closed on Mondays
CAFA Art Museum – China Central Academy of Fine Arts
No. 8, Huajiadi Nan Jie, Chaoyang District, 100102 Beijing, P. R. China