Ding Yi: Homeland and Journey

Huamao Museum of Art Education and Ningbo Art Museum, China

Homeland and Journey is the first solo exhibition of acclaimed artist Ding Yi in the city of Ningbo. The show is co-organized by Ningbo Art Museum and Huamao Museum of Art Education and curated by Cui Cancan. Beginning from Ding Yi'; origin in Ningbo, the show comes full circle, showing his decades-long journey culminating in a return, which serves as both the reason and inspiration for the exhibition. This “journey” provides the content of the exhibition, describing a departure and return, illuminating the time and space of a story more than 50 years in the making.

The exhibition at Ningbo Art Museum is divided into two sections: “Footprints of the City” and “Constellations and Recent Works.” “Footprints of the City” presents the path of the artist through his exhibition history, connecting the long journey of the “Appearance of Crosses” around the world over more than 30 years, writing a small personal history alongside incredible evolutions of social change. Practical experiences of urbanity have nourished the eternal value of the “Appearance of Crosses.” “Constellations and Recent Works” presents Ding Yi's new “Constellations” series, created especially for his hometown and focusing on the exploration of spirituality and cosmic stars from the “looking up” perspective adopted in his recent practice.

The exhibition at Huamao Museum of Art Education is similarly divided into two sections: “The History of Works on Paper” and “Travel Sketch.” The former focuses for the first time on Ding Yi's paper-based artistic experiments and practice, while the latter features his note-like image logs made during his travels. “The History of Works on Paper” is yet another thread to unravel the meaning of the “Appearance of Crosses.” In Ding Yi’s artistic system, paper works hold the same importance as works on canvas. They serve as means to experiment and refine subjects that later appear on canvas and yield unique understandings of the “Appearance of Crosses,” providing a scale of measurement. As the end of the exhibition, “Travel Sketch” contains more vivid perspectives for viewers to understand Ding Yi's art and life in a more relaxed, subtle, and original way: “The Clock and Map” of the “Appearance of Crosses” painted by Ding Yi in different cities, as well as the changes in “Homeland, Short trip, and Letters,” and the evolution of his studio over 40 years. 

In Ding Yi's more than 30 years of creation, the cross has developed from a symbol into a system of meaning. The “cross” has a different grammar. It is shaped by different forms, moods, ideas and realities. There is no good or bad between them. Each node of the evolution of the work is just a different branch of the cross system. Now, Ding Yi's exhibition has returned to his hometown, giving this journey a starting point, but the “Appearance of Crosses” remain far away, having not yet reached their end.


Huamao Museum of Art Education: 23 September 2023 – 24 March 2024

Ningbo Art Museum, China: 21 October – 22 November 2023