Since the mid-1980s, Ding Yi’s work provides a significant contribution to the reformulation of an independent abstract painting in China. Cross Sketches, 2009, alternates between text and drawing, with Ding Yi using a text and format that references China’s ancient writing tradition. The picture’s extremely long, narrow format references the Chinese tradition of scroll pictures, whilst the technique of painting in ink on rice paper references Chinese calligraphy. The gestural, delicate, almost ornamental language of shapes used for the cross motif has associations with handwriting techniques. The title of the artwork, rendered in calligraphy, is situated within a vertical field that marks the termination of the right hand side of the picture. Ding Yi’s artworks grow, as it were, out of a time-consuming by-hand process, which allows the cross shape to emerge as a visually and graphically variable raw material. Each of his pictures is a fragmentary extract of a grid network that extends beyond the edges of the picture: an idealized, imagined hyperstructure, which offer a time-suspended, ideology-free space for the communication between artist/author and viewer/reader.