About The Work
Since the late 1980s, Ding Yi's exploration of the pure and merely formalised signs of "crosses" appears throughout his artistic practice, the practice of a dedicated painter living in today's dense world. Presenting a contrast to the progression of materials and techniques, the constant "+" and "x" crosses vitalise his works with immersive rationality and order in an extremely simple gesture. The continuous and longstanding work process can be viewed as an evocation of energy. Behind the almost minimalist system is the accumulation of the artist’s self-discipline and instinct. Ding Yi started the “crosses” within the context of his confusion about urbanisation; however his artistic system showcases an inward tendency towards spirituality after three decades of endeavors. Paying attention to the macroscopic conception and specific objects, Ding Yi copes with the complexity of pictorial elements with a simple mechanism, which demonstrates his dialectical thinking about abstraction in an increasingly complex and interlinked time and world of challenges.
Appearance of Crosses 2012-9, a myriad of plotted points in grey, white and black, scans as data recorded by some inhuman agency, for an unknown purpose, and this covertness in itself has emotional weight; only Ding Yi’s perpetually hand-applied facture keeps it in the human world, a world increasingly populated, as we know, by drones and self-driving cars and AIs in general, in which a progressively greater percentage of ‘seeing’ is done by computers.
Ding Yi is among the most successful and influential Chinese artists today.
The practice of Ding Yi encompasses painting, sculpture, spatial installation and architecture. He works primarily with "+" and its variant "x" as formal visual signals, above and against the political and social allegories typical of painting in China. He chose this sign in the second half of the 80s as a synonym of structure, rationality and of a pictorial expressiveness that reflects the essence of things.
Ding Yi has exhibited extensively at various institutions and galleries, among many others, "Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World" (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York/Bilbao, 2017-2018); "Last Night's Fortune Teller: The Third Part of an Exhibition Series with New Acquisitions of Chinese and International Contemporary Art" (Daimler Contemporary, Berlin, 2017); "Une histoire: art, architecture, design des années 1980 à nos jours" (Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2015); "China 8, Contemporary Art from China at the Rhine and Ruhr"(Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, 2015); "Verso Est, Chinese Architectural Landscape" (Museo Nazionale Delle Arti Del XXI Secolo MAXXI, Rome, 2011); "Shanghai" (Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, 2010); "'85 New Wave, The Birth of Chinese Contemporary Art" (Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2007); "Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection" (Bern, Hamburger, Barcelona, etc. 2005-2009); "Living in Time, 29 Contemporary Artists from China" (Hamburger Bahnhof Museum Für Gegenwart, Berlin, 2001).
Founded in 1996, ShanghART Gallery is one of the first contemporary art galleries established in China now maintaining spaces in Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore. For the past twenty years, ShanghART has kept devoting to the development of contemporary art in China and also kept close and long-term cooperation with more than 60 artists. Sustaining the highest-quality in presenting contemporary art exhibitions and projects, ShanghART regularly participates in the major international art fairs and collaborates with important art institutions in China and from all over the world.
ShangART Videotheque, which was established in 2008 and has been developing till now, has included near 600 contemporary video art works.