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Light

In 2015, when Vhils opened up a second studio in Hong Kong, he became fascinated with the city’s iconic neon signs, by then a dying art form. Despite having worked with video and television screens for a few years, this would be the artist’s first real approach to working with light as a source material. Inspired by the traditional signs of Hong Kong, Macau, and Greater China, Vhils adopted this new medium to push the concept of his composition installations.


Working with neon masters in Hong Kong and Portugal, the artist developed a unique technique which uses tubes that vary in thickness in order to create a more detailed image. The result was a completely new take on a conventionally commercial object, one that subverted the neon’s customary employment as signage for advertising, transforming it into an object of aesthetics and a reflection on the visual cacophony inherent in urban societies.


This same approach would lead him over the years to create further works with the medium of light that explored similar concepts, such as those materialised in the “Overexposure” series. These large light pieces invite the viewer to contemplate the intermittence and fragility of the human presence in the urban environment.


While essentially playing with the concepts of overexposure and technological overstimulation, they also seek to address the current context of suspension and uncertainty, as well as both the positive and negative potential it contains for our global future. The deconstructed images, created through the superimposition of strips of black vinyl onto certain areas of the tubular light bulbs in order to block the light, seek to create a visual impression on the viewer’s retina – a lasting imprint that dazzles and stimulates.

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Gleam Series, 2016 / Approx. 200 × 840 × 360 cmInstallation with neon lightsphoto by Bruno Lopes
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 / 147 cm x 74 cm x 275 cmphoto by Alexander Silva
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 / 147 cm x 74 cm x 275 cmphoto by Alexander Silva
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Perspective, 2015 / Approx. 300 × 1200 × 800 cmSite-specific installation with paper sheets and nylon thread
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Perspective, 2015 / Approx. 300 × 1200 × 800 cmSite-specific installation with paper sheets and nylon thread
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Overexposure #01, 2019 / Approx. 365 × 361 × 35 cmInstallation with T8 tubular light bulbs, Arduino microcontrollers, motion sensorsphoto by Fernando Guerra
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Overexposure #01, 2019 / Approx. 365 × 361 × 35 cmInstallation with T8 tubular light bulbs, Arduino microcontrollers, motion sensorsphoto by Fernando Guerra
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Neutrões Series #04, 2014 / 135 × 125 × 10 cmVideo installation with laser-cut acrylic boardphoto by Rui Gaiola
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Flicker Series, 2016 / Approx. 330 × 610 × 20.5 cmVideo installation with laser-cut acrylic boardsphoto by Bruno Lopes
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photo by Alexander Silva
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photo by Alexander Silva
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photo by Alexander Silva
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