Explosive Street Artist Vhils Gets His First Large-Scale Solo Show at the Contemporary Arts Center

The opening reception takes place 8-11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21 and features site-specific works

click to enlarge 2014, Lisbon, Portugal. - Photo: Alexander Silva - Vhils // facebook.com/cincycac
Photo: Alexander Silva - Vhils // facebook.com/cincycac
2014, Lisbon, Portugal.

Portuguese street artist Alexandre Farto, aka Vhils, is best known for his pioneering bas-relief carving technique, in which he literally scratches the surface of urban environments by carving large-scale portraits of everyday people directly into outdoor walls. He does so through industrial means — drilling, controlled explosions, ripping away debris, etc.

Most recently, you may have noticed his portrait of John Mercer Langston in Over-the-Rhine, a mural he created as part of 2019’s BLINK.

Now Cincinnatians can see the artist’s work rendered on gallery walls at the Contemporary Arts Center.

Titled Haze, the exhibition marks Vhils’ first large-scale solo show in a United States art institution. It seeks to create a “subtle dialogue” with the museum’s iconic architecture, as designed by the late Zaha Hadid.

Sprawling through two floors, most of the exhibited works are site-specific: “carved wooden doors, sculptural dioramas, large-scale and small-scale hand-carved billboard pieces, immersive video installations and carved plasterboard compositions.”

Opening reception 8-11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21. On display through July 6. Free. Contemporary Arts Center, 44 E. Sixth St., Downtown, contemporaryartscenter.org

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