Catching up with Issue 15 guest editor Pixy Liao

Pixy Liao, Day Dream, 2022.

We’re featuring what our Issue 15 guest editors have been up to since the issue was released at Paris Photo in November 2022. Each of our 50 guest editors on the issue selected an image by an artist from our international open call to feature in a spread next to an image of their own in Issue 15. To see their work in the issue order your copy. Our guest editor Pixy Liao’s work has garnered international attention, with solo shows in various countries, including Estonia, Sweden, Germany, and Canada. Liao’s first photobook, “Experimental Relationship Vol.1 2007-2017”, was nominated for the Arles Prix du Livre award and is now on its third edition. Her work is well-regarded by contemporary Chinese photographers and publishers, such as Jiazazhi, gaining global recognition for their contribution to the art world. Her current solo show "Day Dream" is open until April 22nd at Stieglitz19 in Antwerp, Belgium.

Pixy Liao’s “Experimental Relationship” is a visually captivating and thought-provoking project that showcases her unique approach to photography. The series, photographed alongside her boyfriend, Moro, subverts gender power stereotypes and reflects the roles in their relationship, with Liao typically playing the dominant part. Liao’s work breaks the traditional relationship model and demonstrates a refreshed dynamic. The simplicity of the composition and the soft colours of the photographs draw the viewer’s attention to the staging within the frame and Liao’s often captivating gaze.

The series has been evolving over the past twelve years and gathered speed at a time when gender roles are being questioned. In her relationship with Moro, who is five years younger than her, Liao challenges the traditional Chinese expectation of women marrying older men and being mentored by them. The U.S.A. has given Liao the freedom to question and position herself as a female artist, exposing vulnerability and dependency. Liao’s work is not only a commentary on her relationship with Moro but also on the broader societal expectations of gender roles.

The locations of the photographs are not just a backdrop but a crucial element in the series, providing a new layer to the evolving project. Initially, the images were created solely in their Brooklyn apartment, but after eight years, Liao felt the need to add a new dimension to the series by changing locations and documenting interesting places they came across during their travels.

Pixy Liao’s work is a powerful commentary on gender roles and relationships, breaking the traditional mold through her ongoing project, “Experimental Relationship”. Her work is a reflection of her own relationship with her Japanese boyfriend, Moro, and also a broader commentary on the societal expectations put on who we are allowed to be intimate with. The series showcases Liao’s unique approach to photography and challenges the notion that men must always be in positions of power within relationships.