HOCA Foundation presents the first solo exhibition of Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto AKA Vhils in Hong Kong, opening in March to coincide with Art Basel 2016.
The multi-site initiative will include an intervention on one of the city’s iconic trams (in circulation from 19th March 2016) and an exhibition at Pier 4 (open between 21st March– 4th April 2016), encouraging visitors to explore the city and reflect on the nature of the urban environment through the lens of the artist.
Over the past decade, Vhils has been developing a unique visual reflection on contemporary urban societies across the globe and the people who form them. “Debris” will be one of the most encompassing and holistic presentations of Vhils’ artistic production, an expression of the quotidian tension that lies between the individual and the demanding environment of urbanity. For “Debris”, HOCA has selected iconic sites across Hong Kong – a moving tram and the ferry pier – to display works and installations that reflect the breadth of the local cultural landscape. Utilizing a variety of techniques such as drilling, billboard collages, neon light boxes, and sculpture to present an immersive experience, Vhils will deconstruct the images and tropes that have become symbols of the city itself. This re- arrangement of components represents the multiplicity of stimuli people are subjected to in the urban space and is part of a broader reflection on identity in contemporary urban societies. Inspired by the time he has spent as an artist-in-residence in the city, the new works are composed of portraits, juxtapositions and imbrications of graphic and geometric elements, metropolitan patterns and motifs that form a reflection on how individuals are both shaped and help form the seemingly overwhelming urban environment they inhabit.
The exhibition will be held at Pier 4, where Vhils presents artworks in new mediums for the first time. Central to the new series is the exploration of his practice of destructive creation in an environment characterised by the plurality of media. An avid experimentalist, the artist has been developing compositions made of neon and metal, enabling him to expand the boundaries of visual expression. A highlight, installed across an elongated exhibition space, is a video of the streets of the city. In this enveloping experience, the audience will find themselves moving against the decelerated flow of the crowded city sidewalks, prompting a reflection on the role of the individual within the masses.
The landmark exhibition, created as a response to life in Hong Kong, represents HOCA’s commitment to promoting public awareness and developing access to contemporary art in the city. With a vision and curatorial strategy that draws inspiration from popular culture, the non-profit organization seeks to enhance access to art, in all its multitude of forms, in the city.