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On The New Crosses of '15 X Red'

Author: Daniel Baillon 1996

"Ding Yi is admirably obstinate. He does not attempt to mean, less still to represent - he makes crosses.

What is the completed work of art, if not the sum of gestures made by the hand of the artist? The cross here is the basic unity, the minimal division of a canvas invested with two complementary and contradictory motions: a gesture crosses another which it acknowledges and denies at the same time.
Affirmation and refusal, Ding Yi's crosses are the coloured traces of the universal conflict which most profoundly moves the artist when he seeks to express this mystery while he realizes, almost simultaneously, the impossibility of this task. It is a task too vast to be contained within this simple stroke, itself hardly more than an allusion. Nevertheless, for the artist, seeing that there is no project without this intuition of an indefinable truth, there can be no work of art without an obstinacy in the pursuit of his quest. The result is a continual re-commencement : to say, to contradict, to believe, to deny, again and again until the end of the canvas, after which to start a new on another. For eight years the course of Ding Yi's work has been one of constant beginnings, discontinuations along a line of defferent canvasses, which in their turn are fragmented by the alignment of their crosses.

What remains, in the end? Very simply, the work of art-beautiful as ever in a subtle variety of chromatic combination here soated in red, in which Ding Yi partakes, along with his technical forebears of the touch(the virgulisme of the impressionists, the pointillisme of Seurat), of a heightened sense of the vibration of colour. Here this technique is in a sense protected, extended within the clear lines of a sort of geometric abstraction(see catalogue), only here it appears more assured: a closer look reveals the grain of the paper, the trembling of the artist's hand, that sense of roughness which belies the truth of his gesture.

It is a surface rich with the glint of its colours, that interrogation which precedes the work before its beginning, to the impenetrable beyond of which it offers fugitive glimpses.
It is for Art to register : truth lies not in the supposed reality of the surface, but in the invisible forces which animate it.

This force creates the truth and, in so doing, creates itself."  

Daniel Baillon, Shanghai, 1996

Related Artists:
DING YI 丁乙
Related Exhibitions:
Ding Yi: Crosses '97

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