Galerie Waldburger is pleased to present Appearance of Crosses, the first solo show of Ding Yi in Belgium.
In the late 80ies, contemporary Western culture was starting to heavily impact – if not to say “attack” – Chinese society and a reflection upon traditional Chinese culture set in. In this time of transition and confusion, Ding Yi neither wanted to blindly adapt the Western values nor did he want to stick to the old Chinese painting tradition. As Ding Yi explains, he wanted to get rid himself of both the burden of traditional Chinese culture he was carrying but also the influence of Western modernism. He wanted to go back to the starting point of art, to start again from zero.
In his search for a new form of expression, Ding Yi discovered the cross-sign as a painting tool; for him, the cross is the simplest sign, the most basic element. In 1988, Ding Yi conse-quently started to paint only crosses. His works basically consist of variations of “+” and “x” motifs. Although he is using only these two simple elements, Ding Yi developed a visually very diverse body of works as he is playing with structures and colors in the composition of his paintings.
Ding Yi was in search for his own, unique painting style. But by doing so, he also influenced Chinese painting as a whole. Ding Yi is considered a pioneer of abstract painting in China. Wu Guanzhong, a master of modern Chinese art, stated that Chinese art often looks almost abstract. But, like birds in the sky, so he says, there has always been a string that binds it to the earth, to a recognizable object. But Ding Yi’s works are totally abstract, no strings to a recognizable object.
Ding Yi is living and working in Shanghai, where he was born in 1962. He studied at the Fine Arts Department of Shanghai University and since 2005 he is professor at the Visual Art In-stitute of Fudan University in Shanghai. Ding Yi has been included in numerous group exhibi-tions: at the 45th Biennale of Venice, at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, at the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen and the BOZAR in Brussels, to name only few. Furthermore, his works have been shown in solo exhibitions at the Minsheng Art Museum in Shanghai, the Shanghai Art Museum, the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, the Museum of Modern Art in Bologna, amongst many other places.