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Pixy Liao

Your Gaze Belongs to Me

An image of a couple in pajamas kissing behind a magnifying glass

Pixy 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 called Experimental Relationship. The project began when Liao, a Shanghai native, met a Japanese musician in 2006 while studying at university in Tennessee. This first museum solo exhibition of Pixy Liao’s work 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 that Liao is showing together for the first time.

Photo: After Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, Experimental Relationship series, 2019 © Pixy Liao. Courtesy of the Artist.

A photo of a couple against a wall with white shutters, one partner is clothed and one is not
Photo: Relationships work best when each partner knows their proper place, Experimental Relationship series, 2008 © Pixy Liao. Courtesy of the Artist.
A photograph of a woman's hand holding a phallic object on top of a red ping-pong paddle
Photo: Ping Pong Balls, Experimental Relationship series, 2013 © Pixy Liao. Courtesy of the Artist.

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 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 is curated for Fotografiska by Holly Roussell.

About Pixy Liao

Born and raised in Shanghai, China, Pixy Liao is an artist currently residing in Brooklyn, USA. She is a recipient of an NYFA Fellowship in photography, En Foco’s New Works Fellowship, and a LensCulture Exposure Award. She has participated in artistic residencies at Light Work, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Center for Photography at Woodstock, and the Camera Club of New York.

Liao’s photographs have been exhibited internationally, including at the Rencontres d’Arles Photography Festival (France), the Asia Society (Houston), VT Artsalon (Taiwan), He Xiangning Art Museum (China), Format Photography Festival (UK), Noorderlicht Photo Festival (The Netherlands), and elsewhere. Liao holds an MFA in photography from the University of Memphis.