“There’s a feeling of melancholy in these photos. Time seems to be standing still in the house. Even though time passes by, people pass away, the house is still there as if everything were going to start the same every day.
Pixy Liao – New Wife, Old House
Through her ongoing ‘Experimental Relationship’ series, Pixy Liao has become known for unsettling traditional gender roles through her photographs of her and her boyfriend-turned-muse, Moro. Often using nudity, female dress, and domestic settings, Pixy challenges the expectation of male dominance within a heterosexual relationship.
Pixy’s most recent iteration of this series, ‘New Wife, Old House’, takes on a more sombre tone than her previous work and incorporates more of these traditional dynamics. Taken at Moro’s grandmother’s home, a place where ‘time seemed to be standing still’, the setting’s influence on this series is clear. These photographs feature more subdued clothing than Pixy’s previous work, emulating, as she says, a ‘proper traditional wife role’. They also show Moro taking on a more dominant role, indicating a ‘new type of relationship’ for them, and one that Pixy suggests ‘he doesn’t seem completely comfortable with’.
The humour that permeates Pixy’s work is still evident in the titles of these photographs, despite their muted appearances. The titles are as important as the images themselves, often being decided on long after they are produced and adding another dimension to them. ‘Looking Up to My Man’ accompanies an image of Pixy staring up into Moro’s face while hanging from his neck, parodying the power dynamic suggested in the title with its exaggerated and literal presentation. Similarly, a series of images showing Pixy and Moro standing under a clock, simply titled with the time, seems to rebel against the timelessness of the location, while simultaneously succumbing to it through the lack of a specific date.
‘New Wife, Old House’ is available to view now in the Chambers Art Gallery online viewing room.
By Melissa Spreadborough