‘Relationships work best when each partner knows their proper place’ … Pixy Liao, aka Yijun Liao, is exemplary of a new generation of photographic artists experimenting with the possibilities of portraiture in depicting modern partnership. Her works emerge from personal experiences and her own intimate spaces, challenging conventional socio-cultural ideas of gender constructions and questions of nationality in a globalized world.
‘Your Gaze Belongs to Me’ is part of an ongoing, long-term project entitled ‘Experimental Relationship’. The project began when Liao, a Shanghai native, met a Japanese musician in 2006 while studying at university in Tennessee. This first solo exhibition of Pixy Liao’s work on display in a museum is arranged thematically and includes more than 50 works from two series, ‘Experimental Relationship’ and the outgrowth series ‘For Your Eyes Only’ as well as individual video and sculptural works which Liao is showing together for the first time.
In her photographs, shot with cinematic warmth and a somewhat laid-back vintage aesthetic, Liao often portrays herself in a dominant role while her boyfriend assumes positions of delightful submission.
These subtle stagings intelligently reverse “expected” gender roles. Five years her junior, Liao credits Moro as the inspiration for this ongoing series, explaining:
“Moro made me realize that heterosexual relationships do not need to be standardized. The purpose of this experiment is to break the inherent relationship model and reach a new equilibrium.”
‘Your Gaze Belongs to Me’ has been curated for Fotografiska by Holly Roussell : “Pixy Liao’s work does not leave us neutral; it draws up feelings: confusion, amusement, disgust, joy, surprise, relief, recognition, a sense of belonging. The photographs help people to step back and reflect on the things we often take for granted – such as the socio-cultural nature of gender constructions. These are conversations we should be having, and for me, her work is both a personal exploration and an important reflection of our society.”
And Pixy Liao is delighted : “My first museum solo show ‘Your Gaze Belongs to Me’ at Fotografiska New York is my most extensive show so far, including photo, sculpture and video works in the last fifteen years. The show was originally planned for last June, and then the pandemic hit. Now seems to be a good time to resume our life. I would like to thank my curator Holly Roussell and the fantastic Fotografiska team in Stockholm and New York.” GoSee : fotografiska.com/nyc
About – Pixy Liao. Born and raised in Shanghai, China, Pixy Liao is an artist who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. She is a recipient of a NYFA Fellowship in photography, Santo Foundation Individual Artist Awards, Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival Madame Figaro Women Photographers Award, an En Foco's New Works Fellowship, and LensCulture Exposure Awards, etc. She has done artist residencies at Light Work, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Center for Photography at Woodstock, University of Arts London, School of Visual Arts, Pioneer Works, and Camera Club of New York.
Liao has participated in exhibitions and performances internationally, including the Rencontres d’Arles in Arles (France); Asia Society (Houston); National Gallery of Australia (Sydney); the Museum of Sex (New York); UCCA Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing), etc. Liao holds an MFA in photography from the University of Memphis. GoSee : pixyliao.com