Ding Yi 丁乙, ‘Ding Yi Studio’, 2016, Qiao Space

Ding Yi was born in Shanghai in 1962. He studied decoration design at Shanghai Arts & Crafts Institute from 1980 to 1983 and then completed a B.F.A. degree at Fine Arts College of Shanghai University in 1990. He 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 is a formal mark without meaning, in order to emphasize the rational approach to painting, while the context of this work is the industrial-paced development of the urban environment in post-socialist China. His series of paintings, whether predominantly black, based on tartan or else elaborated in intense fluorescent colors, all bear the title Appearance of Crosses with a date. His work can be found in many private and public collections, including Centre Pompidou in Paris, Daimler Art Collection in Berlin, DSL Collection in Paris, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul, Long Museum in Shanghai, M+ in Hong Kong, and Yuz Museum in Shanghai.

Image rights: Courtesy of DING YI STUDIO


Venue: Qiao Space, Shanghai (2016)

Artist Statement: Ding Yi's studio is connected with Qiao Space's "Studio" exhibition in an unusual way. Through this physical and conceptual path, we can peer in on the creative processes and time passed every day by the artist.

About Ding Yi 丁乙

Inspired by the Zen practice of calligraphy, painter Ding Yi is a pioneer of abstraction in China, completely rejecting narrative and representation in his practice. He creates colorful, abstract geometric works through an exacting process: each painting comprises countless individually painted crosses—usually painted on plaid fabric—whose minimalist look belies the maximal effort and consciousness of his otherwise intuitive process. "What I want most is for every piece to have some freedom," he says. "So I will allow some things to happen by chance."

Chinese, b. 1962, Shanghai, China, based in Shanghai, China