Born in 1962, Ding Yi has been a bold innovator since he committed himself to abstract painting in the late 1980s, and is regarded as one of China's foremost artists.
Ding Yi is painting crosses, in endless repetion. All his paintings are compositions and variations of the same motifs: '+' and 'x'. Consequently, Ding Yi titles his paintings as "Appearance of Crosses". He started to paint crosses in 1988 at a time when China's contemporary art, like Chinese society as a whole was undergoing a major transition. This transition involved the assault of contemporary Western culture and reflection upon traditional Chinese culture. As Ding Yi states, he wanted to rid himself of the burden of traditional culture as well as from the influence of the pure painting style of early western modernism. He wanted to go back to the starting point of art, to start again from zero. Ding Yi chose crosses because he knew them from his previous youthful experience in a printing factory where crosses are the most basic elements in colour printing technology. Obviously, crosses are also symbols with various meanings. But for Ding Yi, they are just meaningless crosses and nothing else than that. Ding Yi appropriates the crosses and transforms them into the essential structural motifs of his paintings. Although his paintings are always built with the same elements, they show a tremendous visual variety. With different colours, structures and layers Ding Yi pushes his paintings towards maximum diversification. At the same time, the paintings are minimalist and highly expressive.
The perception and interpretation of Ding Yi's work is manifold. Ding Yi is commonly seen as a pioneer of abstract art in China and some scholars emphasise links to classical Chinese art, while others refer to Western conceptual minimal art. However, Ding Yi himself is not strongly interested in classification end even rebells against it when it comes to cultural specifity, he doesn't want to be seen his art as "Chinese" or "Western", but understands himself as an individual artist in an international setting.
Ding Yi has been broadly exhibited in China and abroad, including the 45th Venice Biennale (1993), the 1stAsia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Brisbane (1993), the 11th Biennale of Sydney (1998), the 1st YokohamaTriennale (2001), the 6th Shanghai Biennale (2006), A major retrospective is currently on show at Hubei Museum of Art in Wuhan. Other venues that have hosted important solo exhibitions over the past decade include Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, U.K. (2005); Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, Bologna (2008); Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai (2011);Long Museum West Bund, Shanghai (2015); and Fosun's 28 Liberty, New York, U.S.A. (2016). Ding Yi's work can be found in many prominent 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; Uli Sigg Collection, Switzerland; Yuz Museum in Shanghai; among numerous others.
For Art Basel Unlimited 2016, Ding Yi has created "Appearance of Crosses 2016-B10", his largest artwork in scale so far, measuring 500*1185cm (197"*467") (in 5 pieces)|EACH 500*240cm (197"*94")