Interview: Jiaqi Pan
Luca Curci talks with Jiaqi Pan during THE BODY LANGUAGE 2022, at Palazzo Bembo – Venice Grand Canal.
Jiaqi Pan was born and raised in China. She received her BA in Photography from the University of Alabama (2016) and an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania (2018). Working primarily with photography, she is interested in exploring her relationship with strangers, time and herself. She has had a solo exhibition exhibited at The Gallery at Delaware County Community College (Media), and Sella-Granata Art Gallery (Tuscaloosa). Her works have been included in recent group exhibitions including Parentheses at David Nolan Gallery, Double Vision at FJORD, Bild Build at Icebox Project Space and TPS 26: The International Competition at J. Wayne Stark Galleries. She lives and works in New York, US and Chongqing, China.
Luca Curci – When you take photos, are you usually inspired by the situation or do you find inspiration in yourself?
Jiaqi Pan – Most of my photographs are inspired by situations. I would unconsciously observe and gather information about the things around me. For example, my earlier works in Convenience stores and Drive-Thru were inspired by situations. The works in this exhibition are no exception. At that time, I was preparing the photographs for my visa, which were taken in my own studio, and after each selfie, I checked them and decided whether to accept them or not. It was at that moment that I thought about self-evaluation and was inspired to make this body of work.
LC – How important is the editing process in your work? How’s yours?
JP – I will try to capture the image I expect on camera. And after shooting, I will make adjustments in Photoshop, but it won’t take much time.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
JP – I’ve always been interested in temporary relationships with strangers, so most of my work revolves around building such transient trusting relationships with different groups and people.
LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or an instinctive process?
JP – When I shoot with my camera, I make quick adjustments to my subject based on my preconceived ideas, which I consider to be instinctive at this point.
LC – Do you use art to express something in particular? Is it your medium of expression?
JP – For me, Art is a great medium to help me express my innermost feelings and abstract concepts.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the exhibition’s theme?
JP – Although these three works only capture the upper body of the person, it’s not difficult to find subtle changes in the figure’s expression through careful comparison and observation, thus provoking the viewer to think about the body language of the subject when the photographs were taken, which fits nicely with the theme of the exhibition.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
JP – These 3 pieces of my work are from the ‘Passport Photo’ series. I set up a simple photo booth at a flea market in an attempt to take free ID photos for consumers. At first, no one was willing to put aside their doubts and walk into my photo booth. So, I started hawking like any other stall owner, asking passers-by and trying to build trust with them. Some people began to let their defences down and participate in this art project. During the process of taking photos, each photo was presented on the computer in front of those people. I gave them the full power to decide to stop or continue taking photos based on their self-evaluation until the computer screen showed the photo that they deemed perfect.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
JP – Absolutely, it is very important for artists to present themselves to the world in a good way and I am grateful to have the ITSLIQUID GROUP to offer me this opportunity.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
JP – Yes, you guys were super well organized and professional. I’m glad to be part of it.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
JP – ITSLIQUID platform creates opportunities for artists from around the world to exhibit their work in other countries. It also connects different artists around the same theme, allowing artists and audiences from different cultural backgrounds to interact with each other.