“Cliché can also be turned into not cliché, so they are ok” says Pixy Liao, the Chinese artist, to CHEVET over the course of the most beautiful Autumn in Paris, 2018. A friend of mine [author’s] told me about Liao and her recent project [Experimental Relationship Vol. 1], because he happened to saw the Brooklyn-based artist in Amsterdam, from what I can remember. His words reminded me when Rivkin wrote intensely focused on the “complex arrangements of love and domesticity” in Cy Twombly‘s work –but not too intense, still meaningful and kind of comical. I got in touch with the Liao, who have shown her most recent book at ‘The Kitab’ – India’s first photobook festival –the second project in the Almora region with a special exhibition dedicated to ‘Women in the Himalayas’: “In the beginning, when they approached me, and asked me to ship books to them. I was going to say no. It feels so far and too much for shipping fee. And then I went to their website and see those women in their traditional indian clothing, I really start to liking them. I wanted to let them see my books. So I said yes. In the end, I couldn’t go there in person of course, so I’m not sure how that went,” Pixy highlights.
So, for me it was the perfect personality to follow the flow of our not-planned Asian tribute season in CHEVET. I have instantly knew that this was another attempt to make it right. The previous one (to a famous Photographer and artist) ended up in the limbo of drafts, where simple words stop being funny and interesting and they start getting really mundane.
I thought (felt!) right away that I didn’t want to channel this interview under a serious tone. I’m not Rivkin and Pixy Liao is certainly not Cy Twombly. Plus, Pixy Liao told me “there’s no plan. It just go with our life” (while discussing the work schemes), so why should I?
Let’s start with the basics: I saw on your Instagram that you have posted Crime Album Stories: Paris 1886-1902 [Eugenia Parry, Alphonse Bertillon] as one of your favourite books. Why is that?
Oh, I didn’t expect that question coming! Well, my Instagram account is @bloodypixy. That will tell you something. I’m fascinated in crime stories.
Do you work with references or are you 100% free of images on your mind while developing a project?
It can be either one. In my photo work, I sometime reference on images that I have seen in the past, like classic paintings or popular things in mass media. However, sometimes it can be just an idea coming from nowhere.
What’s your experience with the term “artist” in this hyper modern world?
It’s a luxury.
According to you… In a scale of 1 to 10, how modern is the world that we are currently living in?
How did you discovered yourself?
Through dating Moro (her boyfriend and fellow character in the book).
What’s your concept of roles of gender –for someone that hasn’t seen your book Experimental Relationship Vol. 1 yet?
I believe in gender fluidity. I think it’s against human nature to have fixed expectations on men and women.
How do you see genders in general?
I’m interested in all kinds. There are so many different types.
In your opinion, is there a fine line between feelings and sexuality?
There’s not just a fine line, there’s a huge gap, ok? (!)
What’s the most important thing for you and why: quality or emotions?
So, Is it the human being the best still life subject?
No, they move too much.
Do you think categorising an artist by her background or sexual approach is an easy way of trying to understand her art?
It’s usually not necessarily. A lot of art has no relation to any background or sexuality whatsoever. In my case, I think my work challenges the viewer’s background and sexuality. But, let’s think about it, what if all the photos were actually taken by Moro (technically, he is the one who takes the photos sometimes)? And it’s exactly the same image, so… do people have to react differently? Not always, art can speak for itself.
What’s your best advice to overcome censorship?
Play with it, but don’t get yourself completely erased.
What’s the worst malpractice as an artist in the now?
It’s too hard to support yourself through art. Nobody pays for you to be an artist.
Jack Pierson said once that he “cannot resist a handsome boy, an old movie star and a little bit of camp.” What can you not resist in this world?
Oh! I cannot resist a handsome boy, a pretty girl and a really nice dress.
Reality or fantasy?