The Ascent of Orpheus
Between and Beyond Representation and Abstraction
For the second time in its 150-year history the Bargello National Museum is hosting a solo contemporary art show by American artist Adi Da Samraj. The exhibit, which runs until Oct. 11 and is on display in two galleries off the Bargello courtyard, is Adi Da’s retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. Somehow, it can be considered a testament to Adi Da’s advance in the unfinished modernist project of the early 20th-century avant-garde.
Through nine large-scale pieces and a multimedia projection, it shows Adi Da’s radical approach to “aperspectival, aniconic and anegoic” art. Drawn from the artist’s 2007 Orpheus One and Linead One suites, the digitally composed works demonstrate Adi Da’s reach beyond the linear perspective and individual “point of view” that have dominated Western art since the Renaissance. Some of these works were never shown before.
A 104-page catalog entitled The Ascent of Orpheus: Between and Beyond Representation and Abstraction accompanies the exhibition. Offering a visually rich survey of Adi Da’s Orpheus One and Linead One suites, the catalog includes images from the exhibit, from the two suites, essays on the suites and selections from Adi Da’s writings on art.
“The abstraction of Adi Da Samraj is anti-rhetorical and aspires to restore humanity to a state of contemplation and reflection . . . His abstract images look upon the world from beyond any point of view,” notes Achille Bonito Oliva, the internationally acclaimed Italian art critic and historian who curated Adi Da’s official collateral exhibition at the 2007 Venice Biennale, in his essay in the Ascent of Orpheus exhibition catalog.
Adi Da Samraj (1939–2008) created visual, literary, and performance art for more than forty years with the intention to create works that would draw the viewer beyond the feeling of egoic separateness into that of “prior unity.” His art includes drawings, paintings, sculptures and a large body of groundbreaking photographic, videographic and digitally composed work. Adi Da also appeared as an official solo collateral exhibition at the 2007 Venice Biennale, in a solo show in the historic Florentine Cenacolo di Ognissanti and in galleries in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London and Amsterdam. His work has been widely appreciated by critics.
“Adi Da’s pursuit of the spiritual paths found in early abstraction, from Kandinsky to Mondrian, and his translation of that pursuit into the digital age, restore a transcendental spirituality to the materialism of the machine aesthetic,” said Peter Weibel, Chairman of ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany.
“Protean and unified at once, Adi Da’s ever-changing images become all-pervasive ‘big screen’ experiences, perceptually riveting, indeed, sometimes excruciatingly intense, but always balanced and even sublime sensory experiences,” wrote the famous critic Donald Kuspit.
In addition to being a prolific artist, Adi Da Samraj was a widely recognized spiritual teacher who produced many volumes of literary, poetic, practical, philosophical and spiritual writings. His foundation has brought the legacy of Adi Da Samraj to audiences around the world.
8:15 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Monday of each month, and closed the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month.
Via del Proconsolo 4, 50122 Florence
Bargello National Museum