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June 12, 2020







When normal life became increasingly shattered due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, we wanted to stay in touch with our artists and keep communicating with them and about them. That's the reason bürobasel launched the "Two Questions"-series, asking our artists two straight-forward questions. We continue with this series, even if the situation - at least in Europe - currently (temporarily?) seems to easen up.


This time we ask Ding Yi, a main figure of the art scene in China. Ding Yi lives in Shanghai, where he was born (1962) and grew up.   

1. Where are you?

At the beginning of January, I was in Bangkok attending the opening of my solo exhibition at a gallery, not long after I came back to Shanghai, at the end of January, the pandemic broke out in China, so I stayed in Shanghai until now.

As the virus stopped all the social life, I finally got the opportunity to immerse in working in my studio. I went to the studio and worked alone everyday during this strange time, and witnessed the change in the West Bund area, where my studio is located. At the very beginning, this area was locked down, no tourists at all. Then, after some time, the museums and galleries gradually reopened, people came to participate in the culture life or enjoy leisure time near the Huangpu river again. Recently, especially on weekends, many people come here to picnic, or to do some sports, which somehow reminds me of the scene in "A Sunday Afternoon on the Ile de la Grande Jatte", a painting by Georges Seurat.

2. What are you currently working on?


Because of the pandemic, a solo exhibition at a gallery in Cologne, originally scheduled for April during Art Cologne, has been postponed to September.

As the situation seems much better in Shanghai now, I participated in a solo show at Ziwu, a culture space and bookshop, presenting some new drawings and prints.

Also, I am looking forward to an upcoming solo exhibition at the Long Museum in Chongqing, the opening will probably be in mid-September. In one room of the museum, I plan to display black and white paintings only. By now, I have already made two large scale woodcut paintings for this room, one in a white tone, another in a black tone.

Actually, I painted a lot during the quarantine time. And I have been continuing my work with painting on woodcuts - by carving more intensive dots on the painting, I try to make some new change to enrich the details. And I’m happy to see that it adds more dynamic to the painting.


Ding Yi Studio in the Westbund, Shanghai

Ding Yi, Appearance of Crosses 2020-4, Mixed media on basswood, 120x240cm

detail view

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