The Völklingen Ironworks flooded in red light
Copyright: Weltkulturerbe Völklinger Hütte | Oliver Dietze


Copyright: vihls

1987 born in Lissabon, Portugal
lives and works in Lissabon, Portugal and London


Scratching the Surface Project

VHILS Scrached

VHILS Scrached
Copyright: Weltkulturerbe Völklinger Hütte / Hans-Georg Merkel


2013, in situ


4,5 x 5,5 m


Mixed media


Lisbon-based artist Vhils has pioneered an interesting technique within the world of contemporary urban art, one so obvious it is remarkable no one came up with it sooner. To create his works, he makes use of the various materials concealed under the plaster; of the colours that come forth at different depths. That is to say: Vhils removes layers of material – sometimes by conventional means such as scraping and chiselling, sometimes by the more spectacular method of controlled blasting. While Vhil's wall-adorning technique may be highly unusual, the works he creates are very much in keeping with a specific graffiti style. His motifs are oversized, graphically realistic faces wearing serious expressions, portrayed either staring piercingly at or looking right through the viewer. While some of his subjects are well-known figures from contemporary history, most of them are normal everyday people. By selecting such simple, easily accessible motifs, Vhils underscores the material complexity of his pieces; the multi-layered nature of the walls into which they are etched.