Continuing his ongoing investigation, Appearance of Crosses, this show features seven never-before seen paintings. As one of today’s preeminent Chinese contemporary artists Ding Yi’s work employs a distinctive language of mark – making to examine the function of abstract painting both as a personal form of expression and meditation, as well as a channel through which to consider the rapid socio-political developments of 20th century China.
The seven paintings on show form part of a recently defined new body of work. The series is characterised by an intuitive development in the artist’s practice – the creation of a sensitive and reactive relationship between woodcut and painting. Borne out of Ding Yi’s rigorous investigation of materiality, this distinctive new technique allows the artist to imbue his paintings with an even greater sense of space, depth and time, as well as a heightened sensuousness and physicality. Ding Yi states that Appearance of Crosses is an “ever evolving sequence in which composition changes gradually from geometrical to dispersive”.
Born, raised and educated in Shanghai, Ding Yi continually draws inspiration from the city’s physical and philosophical framework. His works are defined both by a language of ‘x’s and ‘+’s as well as by their grid structure, initially reflective of the fluid architectural milieu of late 1980s Shanghai. Ding Yi’s tenacious practice operates within a completely self-contained system that avoids social metaphors, while simultaneously observing urbanization and the vast and rapid transformations of contemporary Chinese society.
The first Appearance of Crosses painting was created in 1988 and Ding Yi was considered a part of the important nationwide avant-garde movement of the time, 85 New Wave, as coined by curator and critic Gao Minglu. This was the first contemporary Art Movement that broke away from traditional Chinese aesthetics and represented progressive thought, and the historic importance of this specific moment in China would inevitably influence Ding Yi’s work for decades to come.
Ding Yi’s international recognition continues to grow with recent solo exhibitions at Galerie Urs Meile, Switzerland, Ikon Gallery, United Kingdom, Karsten Greve, France/ Switzerland, Museo d’Arte Moderna de Bologna, Italy, and most recently, his inclusion in the 2016 edition of Art Basel Unlimited. Notable recent solo exhibitions in China have taken place at Hubei Museum of Art, Wuhan, Long Museum, Shanghai, Changsha City Museum, Changsha, and Minsheng Museum of Art, Shanghai.
About the exhibition
Dates: 19 May–24 Jun 2017
Venue: Timothy Taylor
Courtesy of the artist and Timothy Taylor.