What happens when men and women switch roles?

Pixy Yijun Liao deconstructs China’s staunch gender and power roles in this fascinating, and comical, photography series

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Pixy Yijun Liao, Experimental Relationship
Photography Pixy Yijun Liao

Chinese artist Pixy Yijun Liao challenges conventional ideas of gender dynamics. She started the project "Experimental Relationship” after a year of dating Moro, a Japanese musician who’s five years younger than her. The idea behind the series was to explore what happens if a man and woman exchange their assigned roles of gender and power, leaving behind any existing preconceptions. "The ideas of traditional gender roles are still very strong in China," explains Liao. “China is much more open than in the past, and it's common for women to work and have high social positions. But feudal thoughts that have been passed down from thousands of years ago still influence the way men and women are viewed in Chinese society. Growing up I was always told there is no need to work too hard, but more importantly to marry a man who can support me, have kids, be mother and a wife." “Experimental Relationship” is also an homage to the complicated geopolitical history of China and Japan – the lovers' respective home countries. Liao adds, "Japan and China have a long and complicated story. I see it as love hate relationship. It's usually tense, but two countries influence each other so much.”

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