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Vhils presents two solo shows in Paris
Installation view of the exhibition in Paris, 2018. Photo: Jose Pando Lucas.

PARIS.- Vhils announced the opening of two solo exhibitions by in Paris: Fragments Urbains at Le Centquatre-Paris, and Décombres at Magda Danysz Gallery.

“The two exhibitions in Paris fall in line with the body of work I've been developing over the years, which has been mainly focused on raising issues in connection with and reflecting on the dominant model of globalised development and the nature of contemporary urban societies.”

First monographic exhibition by Alexandre Farto aka VHILS
20 May – 29 July, 2018
Opening: 19 May, 2pm
Address: 5 Rue Curial, 75019 Paris, France

The exhibition at Le Centquatre-Paris features a variety of unique installations occupying the rooms and central patio of the cultural institution. Comprising a blend of new media and some of the artist’s signature bodies of work, each room showcases a different installation exploring a different medium, including: video, carved wooden doors, Styrofoam sculptures, layers of carved posters, and others.

Alexandre Farto aka VHILS
Galerie Magda Danysz
20 May – 16 June, 2018
Opening: 19 May, 6pm
78 Rue Amelot, 75011 Paris, France

The exhibition at Galerie Magda Danysz functions as a project room for the work presented at Le Centquatre-Paris. In this sense, it works as a complement to the latter but based on a more condensed version of the overall reflection and includes a unique installation with carved walls on the ground floor, while the first floor includes new works in concrete alongside a sample of new works in acid-etched metal plates, carved wooden doors and billboards.

Alexandre Farto aka Vhils – statement
The two exhibitions in Paris fall in line with the body of work I've been developing over the years, which has been mainly focused on raising issues in connection with and reflecting on the dominant model of globalised development and the nature of contemporary urban societies. In this scope, it has been looking into the impact that this model has been having on the planet and its resources and on people's lives and identities around the world. It has also been looking into the intense process of cultural homogenisation it has generated and the resulting clash between global and local realities.

Globalising processes that have given rise to and are actively shaping the present-day world have brought us many positive things but there is also a dark side to them, one that has been driving us along a path of high-impacting urbanisation that has been significantly changing our relationship with the planet and with each other, and a course of development that is mathematically impossible to sustain due to the limited nature of our resources. Added to the fact that more than half of the world's population is now concentrated in urban environments, we have been sold this utopian delirium that a non-stop cycle of development, production and consumption is a universal magic formula, a panacea for the ills affecting the human condition.

Yet we're not questioning what we are giving up or leaving behind in the name of this soothing palliative in the form of material comfort. How far are we ready to go in the name of this short-term contentment? We've opened a new Pandora's box whose consequences we seem unwilling to face. It appears to me that we're working against our very nature, our essence and identity. Development and change are positive, but they ought to benefit all and be guided by our needs, not the unrealistic desires we've been made to believe we must satiate at all costs.

We have somehow let ourselves be convinced that this is the only direction, but to me it feels like we have become lost in the course of this increasingly fast-moving and unreflected journey. When we stop and try to consider this vertiginous pace of transformation guiding our societies into some fantastical future, we inevitably feel bewildered and confused. There is no time to adequately absorb these changes, to appraise them and decide whether they're positive or negative, whether they are even sustainable.

Sharing the same basic principles and functions across the world, the global cities of today are the catalyst as well as the symptom of this reality. They both engender these changes and capture their imprint in their fabric. Mimicking the natural process of birth and decay, their walls, advertising hoardings and other surfaces in their public spaces are in constant mutation, registering these transformations in a constant palimpsestic process where, layer upon layer, the new replaces the old. Even when the old was only just yesterday's news.

What I try to do with my work, in symbolic terms, and what I'm trying to do in this exhibition is to carve into these layers, to dissect them, to remove part of the more recent ones, and bring to the surface something that speaks of our essence, our viscera as human beings living in these large global cities of the 21st century, guided by these processes of development. How are these processes affecting us? What are they doing to our identity, to our very nature? How can we absorb these dizzying changes? Where is our essence as human beings amidst all these new layers that are constantly being piled on top of us? Where is the essence of our history and our past amidst the excess of information we are constantly being fed on a daily basis? Where lies our future amid all of this?

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