Tai Shan Schierenberg: Mixed Emotions

15 May-22 Jun 2024
PV 14 May 2024, 6-8pm

Flowers, Cork Street
London W1S 3LZ


This exhibition marks a profound exploration of Schierenberg’s German and Chinese Malaysian heritage, offering a series of self-portraits and landscapes that navigate the intricacies of identity and belonging.

Through a collection of works that blend real and imagined memories, "Mixed Emotions" invites viewers into Schierenberg's reflective world. The exhibition’s lush and dreamlike landscapes and introspective portraits, depicted in both vibrant and muted hues, serve as a canvas for the artist’s meditations on heritage, memory, and the search for a sense of place.

Key pieces, such as 'One Man, Two Masters,' embody the thematic heart of the show by contrasting the Buddhist temple in the Perak Tong Caves, where Schierenberg prayed as a child in Malaysia, with the Chartres Cathedral in France. Schierenberg marries the iconography of Eastern and Western divine architecture to narrate sstories of cultural convergence and personal discovery.

In 'Gweilo - Ghost', Schierenberg paints a ghost-like boy sitting contemplatively on a fallen tree trunk, in a tropical landscape of lush green fronds, and pastel blue waters.The title of the painting draws from the Cantonese word “gweilo” (鬼佬), historically used to refer to Western foreigners, literally meaning “ghost man”. Schierenberg reclaims the term, channelling it into a reflective depiction of his own childhood in Malaysia. This thoughtful reappropriation serves as a meditation on his personal identity within the tapestry of cross-cultural narratives.

Artist, Tai Schierenberg said: “In this exhibition I’ve gone back to childhood memories of myself negotiating different landscapes; places that I learned to love and that were profoundly formative but in which I always felt alien. I am half German and half Chinese Malaysian, I was born in England but travelled and lived in many different places as a child. I’ve always felt a sense of not quite belonging anywhere which has become more pronounced as I’ve got older and have lost both parents; it is also an issue which is very much in the zeitgeist of course. I thought this racial and cultural confusion could be fertile ground, and as I’ve struggled to conjure in paint these reconstructed memories, collaged from my photo archives, found images and vague recollections, it’s not clear answers that have been forthcoming but a deeper understanding of the complexities of identity, habitat and belonging, and some interesting images I hope.”

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