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Extreme Couple Selfies: A Photographer's Creative Approach


Pixy Liao's Artistic Exploration of Love and Power Dynamics in "Experimental Relationship"

Pixy Liao, a photographer known for her unconventional take on relationships, captures intimate moments with her boyfriend, Moro, in a series called "Experimental Relationship." Originating in 2007, a year after they met, the project delves into the dynamics of long-term relationships with a playful and creative lens.

Highlighted in a CNN profile in 2019, the project features striking images such as Liao wrestling with Moro in a hotel room and playfully carrying his naked body over her shoulder, reminiscent of a fireman's rescue. Currently on a two-month residency in the artistic town of Deià on the Spanish island of Mallorca, Liao continues to shape the narrative of "Experimental Relationship."

The photographer, who met Moro during her studies at the University of Memphis, Tennessee, uses the project not only as a visual exploration of their relationship but also as a vehicle to define her own identity. Growing up in China, Liao felt a lack of female role models and aims to challenge traditional gender roles through her art. In her temporary studio at La Residencia hotel, she reflects on her journey, stating, "It was like being the second best or supporting role, and I didn’t understand why it had to be that way."

Liao skillfully balances the ordinary with the erotic, examining power dynamics in physical and emotional intimacy. Early photographs depict her in a dominant position, employing the female gaze and asserting power over Moro. One memorable image from 2009 titled "Start your day with a good breakfast together" shows Liao eating breakfast off Moro’s naked body, staring into the camera while he lies awkwardly on the kitchen table. Through her lens, Liao challenges societal norms, offering a unique perspective on the complexities of love and relationships.

"Evolution of Intimacy: Pixy Liao's Dynamic 'Experimental Relationship'"

As Pixy Liao and Moro navigate the twists and turns of their evolving relationship, so does the narrative of their artistic venture, "Experimental Relationship." Originating as a tongue-in-cheek exploration of intimacy and power dynamics, the project has matured alongside their journey as a couple.

In recent photographs, a shift is evident as Moro takes on a more active role, both in front of and behind the camera. Liao acknowledges this transformation, highlighting Moro's increasing involvement in the creative process. In a departure from the initial dynamics, Moro often operates the remote cable release control, embodying a shared power dynamic within the artistic collaboration.

Addressing the potential impact on their relationship, Liao dismisses concerns of tension, emphasizing the challenge of working on the project during disagreements. "He refuses to collaborate with me when we're fighting," she laughs, underlining the priority of maintaining a strong personal connection.

According to Liao, the essence of "Experimental Relationship" lies in its ideas and locations. The conceptual depth ranges from playful scenarios such as transforming Moro into human sushi to more intense moments like screaming or engaging in unique poses. Liao views these ideas as a form of fantasy, creating a parallel universe that diverges from their real-life personas.

The choice of locations further enriches the series, with Liao seeking settings where stories can unfold. Whether within the confines of a domestic interior or unexpected locales like a rural hotel in Japan or a tranquil forest in Woodstock, New York, the backdrop adds texture to their visual narrative. Liao intentionally avoids overly picturesque locations, opting for spaces that are "a little weird," fostering creativity and adding an element of surprise.

The overarching philosophy of playfulness permeates Liao's approach, with the artist expressing, "Fun is the most important thing for me." For her, the primary objective is self-satisfaction and entertainment, infusing a spirit of joy and experimentation into the heart of "Experimental Relationship."

"Continuing the Journey: Pixy Liao's 'Experimental Relationship' Beyond the Residency"

As Pixy Liao's residency in Deià draws to a close at the end of October, concluding a series of three summer residencies at the hotel, she and Moro are poised to return to their home in Brooklyn. The culmination of her creative endeavors during this residency will be showcased at the hotel's reopening for the 2024 season in March.

Looking ahead to the future of "Experimental Relationship," one might wonder if there's a planned conclusion to the ongoing project. Liao, with a smile, affirms her commitment to the venture, stating, "I definitely want to do it as long as we're together." This declaration reflects a continued dedication to exploring the dynamics of their relationship through the lens of art.

With the residency serving as a platform for their artistic expressions, Liao and Moro venture into the idyllic landscape for another photo shoot, living out their fantasies and adding new chapters to the visual narrative of "Experimental Relationship." The journey continues, promising an ongoing exploration of intimacy, creativity, and the evolving dynamics of love.

"In conclusion, Pixy Liao's 'Experimental Relationship' stands as a dynamic and evolving exploration of intimacy, power dynamics, and the intricacies of long-term relationships. From its inception in 2007 to the present, the project has undergone a transformation mirroring the shifts in Liao and Moro's relationship. What began as a cheeky and sometimes provocative series has matured into a collaborative endeavor, with Moro actively participating in the creative process.

The residency in Deià, Spain, adds a new dimension to the project, with the picturesque landscapes serving as a backdrop for their artistic expressions. Liao's emphasis on the importance of ideas and locations underscores the conceptual depth of 'Experimental Relationship.' The series not only challenges societal norms but also delves into a kind of fantasy, creating a parallel universe that diverges from their everyday lives.

Looking forward, Liao expresses her intent to continue the project as long as their relationship endures. The future exhibitions, including the showcase of works created during the Deià residency, promise to offer audiences a glimpse into the ongoing journey of 'Experimental Relationship.' Ultimately, the project encapsulates the essence of playfulness, fun, and a shared creative exploration between two individuals committed to both art and each other."