Lonely Planet Writer

Portuguese urban artist opens new exhibition in Lisbon

Portuguese urban artist Alexandre Farto aka Vhils (most famous for his Scratching the Surface project where he carves massive art pieces on walls through a method he calls ‘creative deconstruction’) officially opened his new exhibition in Lisbon on 1 February.

Inside the exhibition in Lisbon by Portuguese urban artist Alexandre Farto aka Vhils . Image by Courtesy of Alexandre Farto and Galeria Vera Cortês

Until 17 March, Galeria Vera Cortês is the home of Intrínseco (Intrinsic), which the author describes as “the reflection of a global world that gives us so much yet in the end makes us transparent and leaves us confused.”  The art installation is made with floor-to-ceiling PVC transparent panels with black-and-white images of different Vhils’ pieces, fragments of urban spaces, and splashes of yellow and red (some printed, some sprayed). Visitors can see each of the eight pieces from a 360-degree perspective to unveil each layer of his work. 

Inside the exhibition in Lisbon. Image by Bruno Lopez. Courtesy of Alexandre Farto and Galeria Vera Cortês

Vhils started as a graffiti artist in his teen years in his hometown, Seixal – a city on the south bank of river Tagus, minutes away from Lisbon by ferry. His work, then and now, is strongly influenced by the industrialised environment of the city where he grew up and the intense urban development in Portugal in the 1980s and 1990s .

A five-letter word that, literally, has no meaning (Vhils were the letters he could write faster to sign his graffiti pieces) became one of the most famous signatures in the urban art world, in Portugal and abroad. At 27, in 2015, Vhils was included in Forbes’ list 30 Under 30: Art & Style. You can experience Vhils’ genius at other art-related projects in Lisbon including the urban art shop/café/working space Underdogs Public Art store and latest hotspot Stupido 1/1, which he curated.