Tielin Ding

tielinwork@gmail.com ︎

  1. The Sound-truck of
  2. Grass, Mountain and Traffic Cone
  3. A Walk with Blaze 和树号的一次行走
  4. Keys are Moving, They Generate Moving Keys 
  5. Meandering Markers of Murmurs
  6. A Walk with Traffic Stick
  7. Between /pɪŋ/ and /pɑŋ/
  8. Matches of Matches
  9. An Apple Made of Foam and Cement
  10. A Man Holding a Stop Sign 
  11. The Sound-truck of
  12. Beyond the Surface 象外
  13. Portrait/Editorial 

Tielin Ding is a wanderer, observer and mixed-media artist whose diverse practice involves working with playful objects, indeterminate traces and movements to create performative actions. His application of “Mapping” and “Walking” gives him more opportunity to reflect on invisible systems within urban and natural spaces.  Under the practice of way-finding, mark-making and game-changing, he has been very interested in drifting in the field of language and space, risking getting lost from point A to point B. He is recent graduate from MFA in photography at Parsons School of Design, The New School in NYC.

Artist CV︎ 


John Cage asked in 1958 "when a truck is passing by a music school or a factory, which is
more musical"?  I have been thinking about the moving truck signifying as a wandering heart, a risking mind and an international citizen who is always thinking of where to go and which direction to go.

A truck is a carrier, a vehicle of transportation and transformation, with the truck's aluminum surface reflecting sunrise, sunset, traffic lights and car lights while the wheels are always in motion. Along the journey, the truck keeps changing the color and light of its surface. 

In this solo presentation, the artist is sharing a site of construc(k)tion with photo-based installation including a design element of yellow, which is a color that has been penetrating through in his previous practices, suggesting a sense of both continuation and separation, just like the yellow line in the middle of the road.



Grass, Mountain and Traffic Cone 
burned branches, nails

A mathematical problem from my primary school, “What is th shortest distance when an ant walks from A to B on a cone?” ha been lingering around my mind for a long time along with my observation of traffic cones when I am wandering around in Ne York city. The shortest distance from A to B is the length of  straight line, though it is an irregular curve on a cone. I am interested in the gesture of unfolding when we solve this  mathematical problem. It is not unlike people’s collective experiences when they walk across a lawn in a park and form “desire path,” which is shaped by convenience and efficiency.

Traffic cones also contain a sense of construction an deconstruction, carrying the meaning of policing to mark the boundary in public space suggesting where to go and where not to go. Thinking about the relationship between our bodies an traffic cones while countlessly passing by the signage “No Trespassing” , I started to make some mark-drawings with natural materials such as burned branches inspired by Mono-ha Movement happened in 1960s in Tokyo. I am interested in th forces and body movements activated on the burned branche when I was drawing on the wall, which creates different patterns and forms along with different states of being as branches in a spread-out space. Followed by the gesture of gravitational shif with branches, I am  intrigued by the process of falling down an spreading out when the branches were hit against the wall. The image of the installation as a whole is like a decaying mountai with a marked trail inside. What left on the floor are some smal parts of the branches, some are powders, some are ashes. I was get reminded of what a great poet Juyi Bai from Tang Dynasty writes, “Lush, lush grass on the plain; Once every year it sears and grows. The wildfire tries to destroy it in vain; When the verna breeze blows, it comes to life again.” (Translated by Zheng Yu, Huazhan Feng)

A Walk with Blaze

2019 - 2021

HD metal prints, adhesive vinyl, aluminium sheet, spray paint, ink, stone, mixed media

In the summer of 2019, I hiked at Harriman-Bear Mountain State Park in New York with a group of people. Repeatedly walking by unknown markers with different patterns, forms and colors, I started to stop and get closer to observe them. Some markers were painted on the stones, some were nailed on the trees as a piece of metal. Some places were densely populated with them, some were spread out. Somewhere around a lake we finally got a chance to have a rest. I went back onto the trail and started to reengage with those markers in different ways: I ran past them at different speeds, recording the sound of my breathing and fleeting footsteps and the sound of the wind, made by me or nature itself--I could not really distinguish. Some days after I finally figured out they were called trail markers. That memory of my running past the markers had been circling around my mind for months, until I moved to a place in the middle of nowhere during the pandemic, and I had the opportunity to engage with them in a deeper way. At first I made arrow-shaped trail markers with paper, let them lie on the road, drift in the river and placed them on rocks and trees. Later on, I became a volunteer at New York New Jersey Trail Conference where I maintained Yellow Trail at Garret Mountain Reservation in New Jersey, nailing trail markers into the trees with hammers, cutting branches which blocked the trail with clips.

Guided by my practice of drifting and encounters with trail markers, I became interested in how the sign of a trail marker guides me to open up a new world of signs and language, both physically and virtually, across urban and natural spaces. Influenced by the Fluxus movement in the 1960s, I am also interested in creating interventions in different environments involved with my practice of aimless wanderings with/without prop and prompts, exploring how a sign in general functions as a way of talking about the expression of wayfinding systems across the different visual languages of space.

“What does this part of landscape in New York and New Jersey mean to me?”, is also a question I am thinking about in this project. I like the story of an American man getting lost when he was exploring London because of the foggy weather, and he founded the Boy Scouts after he came back to the United States. I often think about how in Beijing several years ago, patients felt very confused about where they needed to go to see the doctor in a hospital because of less-considered spatial design, misguided signs, and markers in the interior space. Trail markers as a kind of both intervention and caretaking is something I would also like to construct in my homeland. Intrigued by the tension among form, color and sound in this project, I am thinking about a trail with directional markers as a metaphor of the psycholinguistic structure of “entry-body-exit” in our daily life.


Meandering Markers of Murmurs, 2021, dimension variable
archival pigment print, latex paint, branch, mixed media

A Walk with Traffic Stick, 2021, diemension variable 
color blaze, mixed media