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Biography

(Shanghai, 1962)

Ding Yi studied Decorative Art at the Shanghai School of Arts & Crafts and Traditional Chinese Painting at Shanghai University, Yi also worked as a designer in a toy factory. The diversity of his background is evident in the simultaneous coexistence of a high degree of apparent mechanization, repetition and precision, along with a creative impulse towards novelty and formal experimentation.

Though as a student he already favored abstraction, it was not until 1988 that he began the “Appearance of Crosses”. With this series, Ding Yi started to develop a unique visual language that contradicted the typical formats of Chinese painting of the time. Using the cross as a formal reference, sometimes emptied from meaning, sometimes associated with negation, Yi distanced his work from expression that predominated his artistic environment. The idea of combining the principles of design with those of painting resulted, then, in an approach that he calls: “the rational abstract”, in which the rigor of the lattice coincides with the dynamism of brush strokes and color. His artistic practice includes painting, sculpture and installations, and is circumscribed to the idea of promoting the autonomy of the artistic field beyond politics and history. As he has stated: “Abstract art can represent the spirit”.

Ding Yi lives and works in Shanghai, China.