• May 17, 2009
  • Posted by Marc

Scratching the Surface by Vhils

A few weeks ago, Vhils showed us a rough cut of a short film he was making about new work he was doing in Portugal.  We were blown away, not just by the piece but also from how exquisitely is was filmed. 

This morning Vhils put the final film up on Youtube.  We love the film and the text that goes with it:

Scratching the Surface

“Sous les pavés, la plage!” (Beneath the paving stones - the beach!) - Anonymous graffiti, Paris 1968.

Paris, May 1968. When the enragés started digging up the stones from the Boulevard St. Michel to use them as weapons against the forces of the old order, they came upon the sand that covered the surface underneath them. The earth. Beneath the concrete, the earth. Beneath the urban environment, nature. Beneath the artificial, life.

Behind all these brick and concrete walls, these dull, grey surfaces that condition our existence, behind all of these cities, there is life. There are individuals, there is nature. “Scratching the surface” is an act of creation taken from lifeless forms. It is the subversion of lifeless forms. The act of engraving the idea of life on a wall, of creating the image of an individual, an iconographic piece of representational symbolism that will endure. As if rendering him eternal by bringing him to life where life was not supposed to be. By carving it out of that which is still-born by its very nature, by its design.

So until the symbolical demise of all walls that separate, that impose, that condition, of a social system that overbuilds in order to control and perpetuate its grasp on the divisions that stem from this eternal partitioning and keep individuals in place, it will be easier and easier to forget who we are, where we come from and what nature is really all about. How easy it is to lose track of what our nature really is while caught amid this saturated, un-organic environment. “

Vhils is currently working on work for an upcoming solo show at Steve Lazarides’ new gallery on Rathbone Place, Fitzrovia.  Vhils’ work is stunning in video and photos on the web, but nothing beats seeing the work first hand.