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F+S+T=X by Fernão Cruz, Sara Mealha and Thomas Langley

During the peak of the pandemic, Fernão Cruz, Sara Mealha and Thomas Langley guided their artistic practice to create F+S+T=X, a group exhibition, organized by the P’la Arte platform, at Prata Riverside Village, in Marvila, Lisbon, until September 1.

The various works are on the walls, columns and floor, fill the predominantly grey space with colour in different materials. Iron, wood, fabric, paper, using spray, pens on canvases, folding screens, car doors, daggers in a multi-material and multi-technical effort, the three young artists converge, communicate and exteriorize their “pandemic” experience.

Sara Mealha’s contribution to the group exhibition is a longitudinal line of drawings. Tired of the question “What now?”, which kept marking her works during the lockdown, that interrogation was sublimated and synthesized into letters that do not always form words. In a cohesive and simple interplay of perspectives, Sara uses colour to fill three-dimensional letters and spaces, in an unconscious search for the word that emerges from these drawings and which is a summary of the exhibition: espoir.

The aggressive and urban work of the Londoner Thomas Langley stands out for its small and large canvases coloured with spray. In particular, the mysterious Mummy’s boy, which provokes curiosity and amazement with the statement BUY MUM A HOUSE, repeated in massive letters on several surfaces. It’s a series of works that the English artist began to develop during his stay at the Royal Academy Schools. While studying at one of the most prestigious European art schools, his mother was left without a job and a home. And, between rage and healing, this series of ongoing works emerged, which convey an intriguing sense of ruthlessness and magnetism.

Fernão Cruz presents several works on the fragmentation of the body, among them a folding screen and some works in fabric. Selfservice, a small quadrangular green cloth, reflects on the limits of the human body and the artist’s own, in an intelligible and instigating human silhouette embroidered on fabric. In it, a male figure is cut in half with a two-way saw, in a segmentation or disjunction that Fernão Cruz recognizes in his existence: on the one hand, a workaholic aspect, on the other, a self-consciousness of his limits.

In short, in an ample, unconventional space, overlooking the river, the works of the three artists coexist in a wide but harmonious and complementary collective exhibition. All the works reflect on the word “espoir” proposed by Sara. They pick up with the concepts of goal and limit suggested by Fernão and share notions of exteriorization and visible affection in Thomas’ efforts. Holistically, F+S+T=X works and will work as an artistic testimony and an archaeological future of an unforgettable human quarantine.

Diogo Graça (1997) lives and works between Lisbon and Barcelona. He studied Communication Sciences at Universidade Nova de Lisboa and studies Cinema at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. With a route that passes through places as diverse as Galeria Madragoa and TVI, it finds its fifth floor in writing and audiovisual, whether in the form of television scripts, articles on art or short stories.

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