Ding Yi is one of the Chinese mainland artists who earlier entered the abstract art experiment. Since the 1980s, he shied away from the narrative depiction and resolutely embarked on an art path to abstraction. Ding is good at applying sundry ordinary media, ranging from canvas, cardboard, charcoal, ball-pen to oil, crayon and acrylic. Finding the uniqueness among the ordinary, Ding became a special avant-garde artist during the 85 New Wave Movement. Whether under the strong wave of avant-garde or the ongoing economic impact, it is hard to evaluate whether Ding belongs to the mainstream or the alternative category. The artist silently forms and develops a kind of special combination between minimalism and maximalim.
Since 1999, Ding’s artworks started to interact with his surroundings. He is not reflecting reality through what he paints, but rather the general effect of the tableau to re-create reality. His tableau filled with a strong formality not only appears at art museum and galleries, but the living environment of the collectors, private club and other public space as well. The design for products of the luxury brand also paves a new road for Ding to serve his art for more people. Certainly the mission in levelling up the public aesthetic taste shouldn’t be the responsibilities of the artists. In the eyes of the public, this is not a priority of today’s society, let alone the task of the artists. But Ding unwittingly begins the experiment, as silently and unhastedly as how he paints.
As a contemporary art organization engaged in supporting independent creations, Minsheng Art Museum reviews what has been happening in the contemporary art scene through its framework, while at the same time, the museum does a wide survey and holds a series of exhibitions in supporting those individual artists in its scope. Following the solo-exhibition of Zhang Enli in July 2011, the long-term plan will gradually continue. As an outstanding artist based in Shanghai, Ding’s experiment in art enriches the various contemporary art scene in China, which undoubtedly belongs to the scope of the museum.
This solo-exhibition of Ding features nearly 65 artworks dating back from 1986. Among them, 36 are canvas and 27 are paperwork. The exhibition is not only a retrospective towards Ding’s art in a certain period, but also the presentation of his patience and insistence for art in the past two decades – which are the most treasured elements in his art.
Zhou Tiehai Executive Director at Minsheng Art Museum