Scratching the surface

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  • Using a chisel, jackhammer and other utensils, artist Vhils ‘revealed’ an anonymous face on an otherwise blank wall in Paris.

    Born Alexandre Farto, Vhils grew up in the outskirts of Lisbon, Portugal, at a time when the city was still recovering from the revolution of 1974. As a young man he was struck by how the city bore the scars of that revolution on its walls, and it was from this that he developed a curiosity and fascination with the concept of layers, both in people as well as the physical objects that we all live among.

    Rather than adding layers of paint or material to any given surface, Vhils sees his unique style as semi-archaeological, dissecting layers of history and culture to reveal an image. He’s worked in many countries around the world from modern cities like Dubai, to more remote locations in South and Central America.

    There are ten artworks by Vhils in Paris, including this one. Entitled “Entropy,” it took Vhils and an assistant 5 hours to complete back in 2012.

    Stand where this picture was taken, using Google street view

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