• Artist
1962 (age 58-59) Shanghai, China
Shanghai, China



Ding Yi "perceives painting as an ideal form of reflection and retrospection. The majority of his works feature repetitions of the “+” sign, superimposed in different layers, colors, and rotations; the tiny, manually painted symbols cover the entire surface of large canvases, requiring a painstaking amount of precision and technical skill. While many of his contemporaries utilize iconographic and figurative references, Ding pursues a space devoid of meaning by using a simple visual motif. Although he rebels against cultural specificity, Ding’s works have been interpreted as an abstraction of the neon lights and brightly colored advertisements that permeate Asian metropolises, aerial views of city grids, and Chinese textiles. Indeed, the artist admits to being inspired by Shanghai as a Chinese city that he has witnessed the growth of for decades – a city as an emblem of modernity with a certain rhythm despite moments of chaos."

Ding Yi has been making abstract paintings using crosses and grids since the late 1980s. The cross, whether a + or an x with thematic variation, is a motif that the artist has declared a formal mark without meaning, in order to emphasise his rationalist approach to painting. The context of Ding’s work has always been the incredibly fast-paced development of the industrial urban environment in post-socialist China, and the work, whether predominantly black, painted on tartan, or elaborated in intense fluorescent colours, all bear the title Appearance of Crosses with a date. Ding’s practice encompasses painting, sculpture, spatial installation and architecture.

Mr Yi's work is held in the collections of the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Daimler Art Collection, Berlin; DSL Collection, Paris; Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; Long Museum, Shanghai; M+, Hong Kong; and Yuz Museum in Shanghai.

Quotes Edit

  1. "It’s not my intention to do something that’s deliberately difficult. The major challenge for me is to explore a new language with which to express myself, not to simplify the technique." —Artnet, July 28, 2015

Links Edit

  1. Why is Ding Yi One of China’s Most Popular and Collectible Artists, Artnet, July 28, 2015



Timothy Taylor