Carry the Weight of You
By Hanna Urich
When Pixy Liao met her boyfriend Moro, five years younger than her, her image of the heterosexual relationship as she knew it was changed. Liao found herself in a new role: as a mentor, protector, and authoritarian figure. She now was what she had previously imagined her boyfriend to be. The camera has become a tool to research this relationship. Liao’s photographs usually show staged, fictive scenarios, but as viewers, we are invited into a personal and intimate sphere. Liao shows that most private can be the most efficient place to start questioning societal norms.
As an interdisciplinary artist, Liao uses a variety of materials and symbols exploring gender. The shape of the penis often appears in her work; as wallpaper, silicon-replicas and sculptures in baby pink plastic. The symbol of the phallus is given new attributes by putting it in situations that challenge its power. The symbol of the male is rendered soft and vulnerable as its squished under the weight of her feet or squeezed by her hands.
Born and raised in Shanghai, China, Pixy Liao is an artist currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. She is a recipient of NYFA Fellowship in photography, Santo Foundation Individual Artist Awards, Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival Madame Figaro Women Photographers Award, En Foco’s New Works Fellowship and LensCulture Exposure Awards, etc. She has done artist residencies at University of Arts London, School of Visual Arts RISO Lab, Pioneer Works, Light Work, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Center for Photography at Woodstock, and Camera Club of New York. Liao has participated in exhibitions and performances in institutions internationally, including the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing, China); He Xiangning Art Museum (Shenzhen, China); the Museum of Sex (New York, USA); Asia Society (Houston, USA); Open Eye Gallery (Liverpool, UK); Chambers Fine Art (NY); Leo Xu Projects (Shanghai, China); and Firstdraft Gallery (Sydney, Australia), etc.