A large-scale artistic installation, authored by Alexandre Farto and produced with the participation of 19 artists, is being exhibited at the nerve centre of decision making in Brussels, the Justus Lipsius building. This initiative, under the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, may be visited until the end of June.
1. About the artist: Vhils
Alexandre Farto, aka Vhils (b. 1987), is known for his unusual bas-relief sculptural technique he executes on walls using unconventional tools and techniques, such as demolition hammers and controlled explosions.
To give substance to “Commotion”, each artist created visual compositions in the light of his or her individual artistic language, which were printed on flag-shaped cloth.
Peeling away the layers of Portuguese material culture, like a contemporary urban archaeologist, Vhils reflects on the impact of urbanity, the global development and standardisation of landscapes and people’s identity. Through creating by means of destruction, Vhils works with materials that are rejected by the city, humanising depressed zones with his moving large-scale portraits.
He began interacting with the urban space through the medium of graffiti in the early 2000s. Since 2005 he has presented his work all over the world in exhibitions, events and other contexts – from working with favela communities in Rio de Janeiro to collaborations with renowned institutions in Europe, the USA and Asia.
An avid experimentalist, Vhils has developed his own personal aesthetics in a wide range of media: from stencil painting to metal engraving, and from video to sculptural installations.
This synergy has resulted in a monumental work of art that displays diversity, pluralism, equality, interaction, dialogue, cooperation, and the convergence of people and discourses, and ideas and practices: the fundamental values of the European project and contemporary democracies. “Commotion” also symbolises a green Europe, since all the materials used have been recycled.
Given the present difficult and challenging economic situation we are facing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the impact it has had on the arts sector, I thought it an excellent opportunity to extend the invitation I received to other artistsVhils, the artist Alexandre Farto
The collaborative piece, which may be compared to a coloured and varied Tower of Babel, seeks to invite visitors to reflect on, discuss and give greater significance to diversity. Aspects that Alexandre Farto understands “as fundamental, especially in the context and the place in which the installation has been set up, at a time when the world is confronting enormous crises”.