Yusi Ding – Artist Interview
2020 Open Artist Feature – Yusi Ding

Posted: 29th July 2020

Humber Museums Partnership - Yusi Ding – Artist Interview

Yusi Ding is a painter whose work explores emotion and emptiness. Ding’s works Onement and Monument/Elegy #1 were both exhibited in Ferens Art Gallery’s 2020 Open exhibition. Onement was also selected for the Future Ferens Young and Emerging Talent Prize.

Oil painting of an abstract figure looking up

Ferens: What three words would you use to summarise your art practice?

YD: Three words I would use to summarise my art practice would be: Abject, Fetish and Subjectivity.

Ferens: Your works in the 2020 Open have a real sense of emotion, is this something that is always integral to your work?

YD: I have 2 works selected for the 2020 Open, emotion/affect is an integral part for both of them. Not only because I believe emotion is suppressed and neglected by the logic of development and supremacy of reason, but also because I am interested in the social construction of subjectivity including emotion.

Ferens: What, if anything, would you like viewers to take away from your work?

YD: I have an ambivalent expectation towards the things that viewers take away from my work: on the one hand, I want my work to be a kind of talisman/apotropaic shield against ideologies and cultural construction; on the other hand, I want it to be a weapon that disquiet both me and viewers in order to bring out things like abject, void and disorder. For example, in Onement I deployed elements like fetish and disgust, aiming to disrupt both dualistic mechanism and tranquil contemplation.

Ferens: Have you discovered anything new about your work having seen it in the 2020 Open, alongside works by hundreds of other artists?

YD: In the 2020 Open, alongside works by hundreds of other artists, the work of Natasha Monfared has really made me think, I love the exquisite way she changes the photograph while leaving a subtle opportunity for the viewers to detect what is behind the work and cultural paradigms.

Ferens: How has your practice changed since lockdown?

YD: Since the coronavirus epidemic, I have become overwhelmingly aware of my own body (it often disappears in daily life) and the gaze from others since I am from China. Because of this I have begun interacting a lot more with the imitation of bodily organs, mirrors and cultural identities in my new works.

Ferens: What gallery, museum or cultural venue are you most excited to visit when it reopens?

YD: Without any hypocrisy, I am really looking forward to the reopening of Ferens, because I have read a lot around Wyndham Lewis during the lockdown, I want to have a close look of Self-Portrait as Tyro by him in Ferens. I am also excited about the reopening of Tate as well, because I have developed so much interest of Eva Hesse’s works recently.

You can see Yusi Ding’s artworks and hundreds of others from the 2020 Open in our digital exhibition here

You can also find more of the artist’s work via the link below:

Artist’s Instagram

Copyright for all artwork images remains with the Artist.

Abstract artwork with highly textured red lower half, on a minimal white background with repeated geometric shapes.

Abstract figure in white with textured red, blackening shapes.

Highly textured red abstract artwork.