"Shishi" As a Mark Organization

As one of the typed pattern, Ding Yi's "Shishi" ( A mark resembling cross) is quite popular among the contemporary art of China since 90's. This symbol system since then has been trademarked for over 10 years. The popular acceptation of Ding Yi showed mainly not at the explanation but at the familiarity out of long time repetition and the memory out of the familiarity. Strangeness is easy to break. And the method to break the strangeness is very simple: to repeat endlessly the fabrication of one unique thing and to show it to the people. The "Shishi" as Ding Yi put it, is something to eliminate all the functions of indicating, imitating and symboling. It is a mark which signifies nothing in a way to make appear the short lines whether horizontally or vertically. Perhaps the understanding of this kind of limiting lines itself is of some significance, though its significance show no relations in the picture or of the reality nature owing to itself a self-hermitting plane organizational system. In Ding Yi's works we can see the passing of the time which is a course of long, enduring and monotonous toiling. His "Shishi" is an expression of controlling will. It needs no enthusiasm, no inspiration, no imagination, but only a habit, a habit of toiling. Its purpose is at the completion of a painting-with no any marks of beginning and finishing. We fail to measure its centre and rim with our eyes. As for the making of this work, it requires a high psychic quality and stable hands for a same action repeated of thousands times. In this monotonous repetition, the marks by short strokes and a picture by the linking of the marks arise out of a void and nil and gradually become clear and will finally fill out that void.

Wu Liang