THE FACELESS SELF
AN INTERVIEW WITH ZIQIAN LIU
It was love at first sight. The intimate, enchanting art works of self-taught artist Ziqian Liu (China) take their viewer deep into their mesmerizing compositions and never let go again. It is impossible to look away. Ziqian refers to herself as being a 'non-professional' but her 124k following on Instagram seems to think otherwise. Ziqian has a deliberate, unique, feminine, inviting yet distant style, inviting you to keep scrolling and scrolling...and scrolling. After a while, you have entered the artists personal realm. We were lucky to speak with Ziqian about the meaning of her self-portraits.
"Firstly, could you introduce yourself? When did you start your career as an artist?"
My name is Ziqian Liu. I am a freelance photographer from China. My major is not photography, so I have been in the state of half learning half fumbling. My work is all self-portrait. I started taking pictures two years ago.
"Your body of work is foremost constituted from self-portraits, what are you conveying with your self-portraits and how did you come about making these?"
I want to give the audience a calm but not flat or small world. I want to show women the outside of this feminine soft and delicate and inner strength. In fact, this is what I wish to achieve with my photography; it opens up possibilities to show the inner self. There are times when I am very restless, random thoughts, surrounded by insecurity, and occasionally a slave to my emotions, so there are elements in my work that I want the viewer to feel, there are things I wish could be in the future. I take pictures almost every day, usually by connecting my phone to the camera's Wifi and controlling it with my phone. It is the ultimate form of self-expression.
"What does self-expression signify to you? Do you aim to portray a certain 'Self' to your audience or do you find that the 'Self' depends on how it is conceived by the viewer?"
Self-portrait are the best way for me to communicate with myself. More than merely being a process of taking pictures. When I focus on my photography, I naturally let go of some restrictions. These restrictions also symbolize some trivial things in life and my chaotic thinking, so that space and time can be said to be completely their own entity. It's a very pure expression of what I'm trying to say, so it really is a release of the brain.
"What is the importance of composition within your work and photography more generally as a whole?"
For me composition is really very important. It does not only affect the visual beauty of a piece of work, but also affects the emotional state of a piece of work. It's what I look for in every piece of work that I make; to make the viewer and myself feel calm and in balance, as if we are in the picture together. I do this mainly through composition, so I'd say composition is very important.
"What are your thoughts on the future of photography? Do you reckon all photography will one day be separated from our daily reality?"
In the future, I may be able to slowly expand to some new subjects, provided that my photography skills are more solid and I can explore the medium in depth. More and more is becoming possible with photography, but in my opinion the creative source and inspiration must always remain closely related to life. Some subjects of photography may become 'less relevant', but photography is, and will always, be about life.
"Thank you so much for this amazing talk, Ziqian".