Original article by: Nowness
The street artist makes Beijing his canvas for a new solo exhibition
Street Artist Vhils is best known for his unique relief carving graffiti process, making the walls of the cities he works in his medium. Carving out the façades of old buildings, he produces impressively delicate portraits of faces from the neighborhood that each project momentarily inhabits. In a new film, shot on the occasion of Imprint at Beijing’s CAFA Art Museum, the artist’s first solo exhibition in the city, Lisbon-based director José Pando Lucas captures a textural walking tour of the city in the run up to the show, including insight into the footage being made. Here, he talks about the project:
“Rooted in the visual narrative that Vhils has been presenting on walls since starting his Scratching the Surface series in 2007, Imprint is a unique installation featuring the use of a single medium—the author’s signature bas-relief wall carving technique.
“Imprint is both an analytical look at the characteristics of contemporary urban life and a poetic gesture”
Comprising some 70 portraits in total, the 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 focusing on the concept of reciprocal shaping by which both the city and its citizens develop a shared character. Imprint is both an analytical look at the characteristics of contemporary urban life and a poetic gesture highlighting the transformation of identity at the heart of this new chapter in human development.”