Saturday, August 31, 2013

Yijun Liao (Pixy) is a photographer from Shanghai, China

Yijun Liao (Pixy)
Born and raised in Shanghai, China, Yijun Liao is an artist currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.
She is a recipient of En Foco's New Works Photography Fellowship and was a winner of Flash Forward Award (Canada) in 2011, CPW Photography Now 2009, and Hey, Hot Shot in 2008. She was also a Honorable Mentionee of New York Photo Awards 2009 at New York Photo Festival and a finalist of ITS Photo Award (Italy).
Liao is currently doing a studio residency at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and will do a darkroom residency at Camera Club of New York in the end of 2013. She has done artist residency at Woodstock AIR program in 2010.
Liao’s photographs have been exhibited internationally, including NordArt (Germany), kunst licht Gallery (China), Arario Gallery (NY), VT Artsalon (Taiwan), The Running Horse Contemporary Art Space (Lebanon), Pingyao International Photography Fest (China), Lianzhou International Photography Fest (China), etc,.
Liao holds a MFA in photography from University of Memphis.

Ryan McGinley (born October 17, 1977) is an American photographer

Ryan McGinley (born October 17, 1977) is an American photographer living in New York City who began making photographs in 1998. In 2003, at the age of 25, McGinley was one of the youngest artists to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He was also named Photographer of the Year in 2003 by American Photo Magazine. In 2007 McGinley was awarded the Young Photographer Infinity Award by the International Center of Photography.
Ryan David McGinley, born in Ramsey, New Jersey, is the youngest of eight children. From an early age his peers and mentors were skateboarders, graffiti writers, musicians, and artists that were considered to be on the fringes of society. He enrolled as a graphic design student at Parsons School of Design in New York in 1995. He moved to the East Village in 1998, and covered the walls of his apartment with Polaroid pictures of everyone who visited him there.
McGinley had his first public exhibition in 2000 at 420 West Broadway in Manhattan in a DIY opening. Later, as a student at Parsons, he started taking pictures, which he put together in a self-published book, The Kids Are Alright, . That was in 1999. His first book of photos, The Kids Are Alright (2002), titled after a film about The Who, was handmade and distributed to people he respected in the art world and sold at the exhibition. One of these books was given to Sylvia Wolf who ushered his work onto the walls of the Whitney Museum of American Art.
"The skateboarders, musicians, graffiti artists and gay people in Mr. McGinley's early work 'know what it means to be photographed,' said Sylvia Wolf, the former curator of photography at the Whitney, who organized his show there. "His subjects are performing for the camera and exploring themselves with an acute self-awareness that is decidedly contemporary. They are savvy about visual culture, acutely aware of how identity can be not only communicated but created. They are willing collaborators."
"People fall in love with McGinleyʼs work because it tells a story about liberation and hedonism: Where Goldin and Larry Clark were saying something painful and anxiety producing about Kids and what happens when they take drugs and have sex in an ungoverned urban underworld, McGinley started out announcing that “The Kids Are Alright,” fantastic, really, and suggested that a gleeful, unfettered subculture was just around the corner—'still'—if only you knew where to look."
McGinley has been long time friends with fellow downtown artists Dan Colen and the late Dash Snow.
" 'I guess I get obsessed with people, and I really became fascinated by Dash,' says McGinley, who shares a Chinatown loft a few blocks away from Snow’s apartment with Dan Colen, whom McGinley has known since they were teenage skateboarders in New Jersey."
Since 2004, McGinley's style evolved from documenting his friends in real-life situations towards creating settings where the situations he envisions can be documented. He casts his subjects at rock ‘n’ roll festivals, art schools, and street castings in cities. He shoots 35mm film and makes his photographs using Yashica T4s and Leica R8s. McGinley has drawn much inspiration from the film by Terrence Malick, Days of Heaven.
"Like his earliest works these images were documentary. He was a fly on the wall. But then he began to direct the activities, photographing his subjects in a cinema-verite mode. “I got to the point where I couldn’t wait for the pictures to happen anymore,” he said. “I was wasting time, and so I started making pictures happen. It borders between being set up or really happening. There’s that fine line.”"
In an April 2010 article in Vice Magazine, photographer Ryan McGinley identified Gilles Larrain as one of his early influences with his book Idols (1973).
"Photography is about freezing a moment in time; McGinley's is about freezing a stage in a lifetime. Young and beautiful is as fleeting as a camera snap--and thus all the more worth preserving."


Raphael Gygax, “Forever Young! On Ryan McGinley’s Work”, 2009

« Over the past ten years, American photographer Ryan McGinley (*1977, Ramsey, New Jersey) has become known as the chronicler of youth embarking on the road trip of their lives, far from the strictures of the genteel, middle-class work ethic. Their departure from the constraints of society (if only for a short time) and the ‘outsider’ stance they cultivated in doing so have become a leitmotif of McGinley’s work. These works place McGinley firmly in the tradition of American photographers such as Nan Goldin and Larry Clark, who documented their own generation and environment. In McGinley’s case, the outsider stance is evident both in his approach to landscape – he seeks out places without defining contours, rather than the popular motifs of the Rocky Mountains or Death Valley that epitomise America – and also in his portrayal of flawless young bodies. These bodies, many of them nude, many of them in motion, casual and carefree, are presented in sweeping landscapes. In this respect, McGinley not only upholds the art historical tradition of a variety of genres from portraiture to landscape, but also adopts such established topoi as the relationship between artist and model, and the perceived eroticism between them that has been a thorny issue throughout the history of painting and photography. The fact that the human body has always been a central figure in the history of western art, whether as an anatomical study or as a vehicle of metaphor, needs no further analysis here. What is more, given the time-consuming nature of McGinley’s approach – his road trips often take several months – aspects of performance art also play an important role in his work, taking a form akin to that of highly organised ‘improvised theatre’ from the period of the travelling theatre. McGinley invariably also creates a sense of tension in his photographs. On the one hand, there is the youthful declaration of independence from a regulated lifestyle while, on the other, the view from within the structured life of an achievement-oriented, neoliberalist society that is constantly striving for this youthful raw material and the image of the young, hedonistic body.McGinley’s latest series, Moonmilk (2008-2009), also features youthful bodies, albeit in entirely different surroundings. Here, the wide-open spaces of the landscape have given way to the confined enclosure of the cave; accordingly, the tonality of the photographs has shifted towards a darker mode. There are few group compositions; instead, the predominant image is that of the naked individual in the dark nothingness of the cave. The caves, with their craggily amorphous interiors and magnificent stalactite formations, become a fascinating haven of shelter for the lone, vulnerable body. In view of the fact that McGinley’s previous groups of images were played out under clear summer skies, this change of scenery calls for a narrative reading as a sequel. It seems only logical to read this series as a reaction to the exploration of youthful freedom, as a withdrawal from the open spaces of the unknown. It is as though the road trip has become an inner journey in which the quest for freedom has been replaced by introspection and wishful thinking. Such an interpretation might even be extended to include the broader political context of the worldwide economic crisis. Globalisation, the internet revolution and the resultant potential for communication spawned a new sociological trend around the turn of the millennium that might be described as a withdrawal from civil society and the public eye – a trend generally termed as ‘cocooning’.
In McGinley’s photographs, however, this cocooning does not occur within the private domestic sphere of the individual (in the sense of a return to neo-Biedermeier values) but is placed in the far more archaic and metaphorical setting of the cave. Caves feature widely in mythology, dreams and fairytales. According to C.G. Jung’s analytical psychology, the cave is a specific form of the maternal archetype. The figures wander through the cavernous setting on their nostalgia-driven quest. In this way, McGinley also reflects on the cultic function of the cave as ‘locus’. Art historians have long debated whether cave paintings can be interpreted in the spirit of classic academic art. What is undisputed, however, is that prehistoric cave paintings allow us to draw certain conclusions about the beliefs, lifestyle and values of the people who created them – the cave has been a place of reflection since the dawn of civilisation.
More strongly than in his earlier works, McGinley guides the spectator’s view to the extrapolated individual body, thereby raising still more questions about its origins and meaning than the outdoor group images, which tend, for the most part, to have more narrative traits. Although McGinley holds auditions to select the individual models for his lavish productions, the role they play might arguably be described as that of an extra. For the young people he selects are rated particularly on the basis of their looks, attitude and their youth, so that they are in the first instance neutral entities onto which ideas can be projected. In other words, they are a kind of dispositif, or apparatus of reality, staged by McGinley.
Applying a sociological concept like this, the role of the models during the shoot corresponds to the role they play in reality, breaking with the concept of the ‘role of actor’. Instead, what emerges is an extra, a walk-on figure, defined more by belonging to a certain social group than by any specific individual traits (which they do, of course, possess). At the same time, however, in contrast to, say, Nan Goldin, McGinley takes the stance of observer and, to some extent, director. He creates an environment in which the bodies he selects ‘are’, and he documents this. These extras can thus be described in terms of both symptom and effect: they are both ‘themselves’ and subtly ‘staged’ at one and the same time. They can also be regarded in a socio-political context.
This opens up broader parameters with reference to a power mechanism that has been the subject of heated debate for several years. In his seminal study The Will to Knowledge, Michel Foucault introduced the concept of biopolitics and biopower. These terms refer to the tendency within the modern state to exert increasing power over the human body, viewing it as an important resource and source of wealth, managing reproduction and hygiene accordingly. Sex turned into a ‘matter of police’, negotiated and regulated with rules by authorities. These authorities address the problematic issue of the modern human subject, given the systemic power mechanisms that govern the social body, the individual and life itself.
According to Foucault, this tendency has been gaining momentum since the seventeenth century at the turn to modernity, when the focus shifted from death to life, from the sovereign right to ‘make live and let die’ to the biopolitical right to ‘let live and make die’. Biopolitics is a technique of using life to enhance production in order to promote, regulate and ultimately exploit life all the more. According to the linguist Michael Hardt and the political scientist Antonio Negri, who have elaborated this concept in their studies, biopolitics also marks a new relationship between nature and culture and a blurring of the boundaries between them. In his work, McGinley succeeds in constructing an ambiguous portrayal based on this specific theme – oscillating between affirmation and critique – in a subtle and thought-provoking role play.
Meanwhile, back in the cave, the young people bide their time… »