Hugo Vitrani

All his articles

Vhils, the rising star of street art who creates by destroying


Portuguese street artist Alexandre Farto, understandably better known by his professional pseudonym, Vhils, is one of the rising new stars in the genre. He uses explosives, power drills, acid and lasers to create his stunning sculptures of human faces on city walls (photo), and to peel back the coatings of urban facades to reveal the past painted underneath. The astonishing results have earned the 25 year-old international recognition from both art critics and his peers, notably Banksy and JR with whom he has worked on co-signed creations. Hugo Vitrani caught up with him during a recent show of his works in Paris, and followed him, video camera in hand, as he carved his marks on the Paris cityscape.

Shepard Fairey offers a bit of 'hope' to the streets of Paris


Shepard Fairey is one of the most celebrated street artists today, a pioneer of the underground urban movement and famous worldwide for his ‘Hope’ poster created for Barack Obama’s 2008 election campaign, now a permanent feature in the US National Portrait Gallery. This summer he visited Paris to mount a 40 metre-tall slice of his graphic oeuvre in the capital’s 13th arrondissement (photo), when Mediapart caught up with him, camera in hand, to follow the American artist at work. Hugo Vitrani reports on a man who seems incapable of escaping controversy, arrest and a constant desire to re-paint the urban jungle (video report and interviews available on article pages).       

Poo! The Louvre hosts Belgian enfant terrible Wim Delvoye

France — Interview

After three years of horse-trading - or should that be pig-trading? - the Louvre is finally letting Belgian artist Wim Delvoye show some of his slightly less shocking works. His ‘poo machine’ and live tattooed pigs have been vetoed, but his 36-foot ‘Suppository’ is now sticking straight up into the apex of the Pyramid entrance to this pre-eminent Paris museum. There are also some stuffed, carpeted piglets, contorted crucifixes, and a selection of subversive Gothic-style sculptures on display in the Decorative Arts section this summer. Global meets local, high-brow meets low-brow, in the Wim Delvoye show now on at the Louvre until September. Hugo Vitrani reports.

Buren courts more controversy with monumental Paris show


Celebrated French conceptual artist Daniel Buren has created a gigantic, ambitious work for the Grand Palais in Paris as part of its Monumenta series of projects that began in 2007. The sheer scale of the show, running until June 21st, is awe-inspiring. It occupies a surface of 13,500 square metres,a volume of 500,000 cubic metres and rises 45 metres above the ground. Mediapart’s Hugo Vitrani casts a critical eye over Buren's latest oeuvre, and reviews the 74 year-old artist’s long and often controversial career.

Liu Bolin, China's invisible artist, on how they 'killed the soul'


Chinese artist Liu Bolin is one of a new generation of dissident artists that have emerged in China in recent years. His art is a double play on what the visible and invisibile. The artist disappears into the scene, camouflaged by fine paintwork, an act that represents and denounces the repression of individuality under crushing state power. Earlier this spring, his works were showcased in a series of exhibitions in Moscow, Paris and New York. He granted a rare interview to Mediapart’s Hugo Vitrani, published here along with a selection of his photographic works, and video reportages.

Paris retrospective hosts the magical, melancholic world of Youssef Nabil


The works of New York-based Egyptian artist Youssef Nabil are a stunning mix of photography and painting. He uses a technique of hand colouring monochrome photographs, learnt from specialists in his native Cairo, to produce haunting portraits ranging from Yemeni fishermen to cinema stars. Often meticulously staged, as if telling a story, his carefully-crafted pictures contain an unusually intense and captivating quality. A retrospective exhibition of his works is now on show for the first time in Paris, at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie. Hugo Vitrani reports.

How the French Far Right is capturing an abandoned social class

France — Interview

France’s blue collar workers, junior white-collar staff, the unemployed and the retired make up a lower class that is also the majority among the country’s electorate. Hit hardest by the current economic crisis, and largely ignored by the traditional Left, there are consistent indicators that a significant proportion is being won over by the Far Right Front National party presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen. In this interview with Mediapart, social geographer Christophe Guilluy offers an insight into an economic and social groundshift in France that has produced an abandoned and despairing category of the population, what he calls “a new lower class which the Left does not really understand”.

Mapping the shapes of modern warfare


An exhibition on show this week in Paris presents photographic and video works by ten international artists in which war is viewed through a focus on geography, both real and virtual. Sitting on a borderline between art and documentary, ‘The Topography of War' illustrates how the battlefield has been disembodied over time to the point of becoming abstract, as have also the faces of the enemies and the victims.Hugo Vitrani reports.

'Away with fatalism, it's time to grasp hope': a call to political arms by Stéphane Hessel and Edgar Morin

France — Interview

Stéphane Hessel and Edgar Morin (pictured) formed a formidable couple when they launched, here on Mediapart, a joint appeal to candidates in France’s 2012 presidential elections. The pair, then aged 90 and 94 respectively, had lived through similar experiences: Hessel was a German naturalised French, former WWII Resistance fighter, survivor of Nazi concentration camps, while Morin, widely acclaimed as one of Europe's greatest 20th-century thinkers, was born to immigrant parents and also fought in the Resistance movement. In this tribute to Hessel, who died overnight on Tuesday, Mediapart republishes the text and video of their outline for a "path of hope" for a new society that shuns "the futile, the disposable, and the wasteful”, an end to economic policies "driving us to disaster", and for a return to values of social responsibility.

Joseph Stiglitz: the "extraordinary risk" of European austerity policies

Économie — Interview

Back in September 2010, former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz told Mediapart in a series of video interviews why austerity plans were "counter-productive", threatening a "double-dip recession", and warned how the flawed and derided financial practices that led to the 2008 crash were back in business. "It is conceivable that one or more countries would either default or drop the euro", said the 2001 winner of Nobel Prize in Economics. Why was no-one listening?

All his blog posts

Mediapart’s journalists also use their blogs, and participate in their own name to this space of debates, by confiding behind the scenes of investigations or reports, doubts or personal reactions to the news.

Hugo Vitrani
Freelance Journalist

10 Posts

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Azyle vs. RATP : le juste prix

Blog post

Azyle est une légende vivante du graffiti français. La RATP évalue le préjudice de son oeuvre à 190.000 euros. Rendez-vous mercredi 2 mars 2016 au Palais de Justice, date d'un procès historique du graffiti.

Les déflagrations de Vhils

Blog post

Le jeune artiste portugais Alexandre Farto, a.k.a Vhils, sculpte des visages anonymes et acides au burin ou aux explosifs, défonce les paysages urbains à coups de marteau piqueur et dissèque l'histoire.

Paul contre le mccarthysme

Blog post

Paul McCarthy a annulé ses entretiens et ne s'est pas pointé à la conférence de presse organisée avant le vernissage de son exposition Chocolate Factory à la Monnaie de Paris, polémique anale-intégriste oblige, mais il n'a pas tardé à venir incognito pour faire quelques changements minimes de dernière minute.

56 graffeurs à la cour de Versailles: dernière audience d'un procès inédit

Blog post

Vendredi 25 mai la Cour d'Appel de Versailles, nouvelle audience dans l'affaire qui oppose la RATP et la SNCF à 56 graffeurs adeptes des peintures illégales sur les tôles des trains.