About the present collection of 15 red paintings on paper by DING YI at ShanghART, May, 1996:
"The work of Ding Yi, a 34-year -old Shanghai artist, embodies two fundamental, conflicting ideas: strict limitation and random freedom. Within a crosshash of straight lines, he explores nuances in colors, texture and structure. For the last eight years, he has experimented with the tension of self-imposed structure ( the cross-forming straight lines) against a brilliant use of color, composition and spontaneity.
In early 1996, Ding Yi committed himself to the use of only one color, red , for a certain period of time. The result is a unique, quite radical but also very delicate series of 15 works on paper. The series isn't large, but it's the biggest he has done in a single color so far. By focusing this exhibit on such a compact series, a viewer can understand the dynamic of Ding Yi's work.
For Ding Yi, process of creating the painting is as important as its visual impact. The subtle variations within the repetition become a king of meditation, for both the artist and the viewer.
Ding Yi's works contrasts strongly with the rapid change of Shanghai. His monotonous working style, meticulously putting layer over layer of strokes on the paper or canvas, is a way to live, a way to keep a clear mind amid the pounding turmoil of this relentless city.
Ding Yi's painting are a visual study. Like traditional Chinese paintings, they draw in viewers, but offer no center. The eye can not focus, but must be active and travel the paths of his brushstrokes. To view Ding Yi's works is to 'read' them, to wander across textures and colors and space and depth. The time he puts into creating his works return to viewers. They are not static.
Wu Guangzhong, the grand old master of modern Chinese art, stated that Chinese art looks often almost abstract. But, like kites in the sky, so he says, there has been always a string that binds it to the Earth, to a recognizable object. Ding Yi's painting are totally abstract, kites that fly without a string, beautiful, yet powerful."