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Ding Yi

25 January - 30 March 2008

The art of Ding Yi is indissolubly bound to the city of Shanghai, which in itself bears witness to the existing tension between the old and the new China, between Chinese culture and that of the West. Ding Yi set out to find his own language, which is revealed in the choice of the character “+” (and its variant “x”) as synonyms of structure, of rationality, of the pictorial expression which expresses the essence of things. The “+” is the symbol of simplicity and self-discipline, a gesture which the artist meticulously and with constancy of heart repeats every day in his studio, as a real challenge to both body and mind.

In the course of the years in which he practised the “+” symbol, he started to experiment with new materials. Linen, embroidered fabrics, drawing paper, chalks, watercolours oils and acrylics: the use of new materials and the mere way of painting make the pictures of this period resemble ancient fabrics, and the wish to preserve traces of the ancient Chinese tradition is self-evident.

The works succeeding the year 1997 may be seen as displaying Din Yi’s departure from his exclusively inner world and the beginning of his close observation of the world around him. He looks at every smallest facet of Shanghai, the city he loves, and records on canvas all the sudden changes in the life of that metropolis. His works display fluorescent and metallic colours, expressions of all that is excessive, the noise, the chaos, the turmoil, but also the incentives and new way of life in the new city.

Ding Yi