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Wood

An integral part of his oeuvre, Vhils has been making prolific use of wood as a source material since first experimenting with it in 2009. This has mostly taken the form of carving wooden objects with the aid of hand tools – mainly doors, shutters and panels recovered from derelict buildings and sites. The material and conceptual link with the urban environment lies in their status as discarded objects, part of the waste the city generates during its cycles of destruction and creation in its ever-ambitious expansion.


While the carved portraits seek to imbue these wooden components with a symbolic representation of life, the patterns, motifs, and signage elements that can be seen encroaching on them, along with the forced agglutination of disparate fragments, all speak of how human identity is becoming increasingly impacted by the city’s dissonant visual discourse, leaving little room for its citizens to become who they really are, free from external, partisan influence.


The artist’s gesture further subverts the worthlessness of the original articles by elevating them to prized aesthetic objects – transferring them from the profane space of the landfill to the sacred space of the gallery. Vhils’ recurrent use of wooden doors also intends to symbolise the correlation and opposition between the private and public realms – the two spheres that dictate our relationship with society and the world at large.

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Graven Series #01 / 96 x 193 cm
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Dispersal Series #20 / 229 x 120 cm
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Orderliness Series #06 / 260 x 239 cm
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Orderliness Series #06 / 260 x 239 cm
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Graven Series #04 / 79,5 x 209 cm
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Still Series #03 & #04, 2016 / 225 × 103 cm & 217 × 111 cmHand-carved old wooden doorsphoto by Bruno Lopes
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Resonance Series #01
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Layout Series #01 / 231 x 119 cm
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Ataxia Series #01, 2012 / 250 × 400 cmOld wooden doors, carved, cut and assembledphoto by Smart B
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Burnt Series #03 / 360 × 154 cm
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Graven Series #10 / 80 x 212,5 cm
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Leonardo, 2015 / Approx. 450 × 1100 × 400 cmOld fishing boat and assorted pieces of wood, hand-carved and assembledphoto by Alexander Silva
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Leonardo, 2015 / Approx. 450 × 1100 × 400 cmOld fishing boat and assorted pieces of wood, hand-carved and assembledphoto by Alexander Silva
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Desvaecer Series #02, 2014 / 202.5 × 75 cmLaser-engraved old wooden doorsphoto by Bruno Lopes
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Lacerate Series #02, 2012 / 186 × 116 cmHand-carved old wooden doorphoto by Bruno Lopes
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Desvaecer Series #05, 2014 / 206 × 85.5 cmLaser-engraved old wooden doorphoto by Bruno Lopes
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Untitled, 2012 | VardøSite-specific, hand-carved wooden wallphoto by Alexander Silva