Article appearing in the September 2015 issue of La Toscana:
Daniela Pronesti, “Adi Da Samraj: Il grande artista americano scomparso nel 2008 in mostra al Museo del Bargello con un’emozionante rilettura del mito di Orfeo ed Euridice.”
(“Adi Da Samraj: The great American artist who passed on in 2008 has an exhibition at the Bargello Museum with an exciting reinterpretation of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.“)
In addition to writing for La Toscana, Daniela Pronesti is the deputy director of Tuscany Culture.
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The original article is in Italian. What follows is a translation by Ugo Bernardi and Teresa Romero.
Adi Da Samraj
The great American artist who passed on in 2008 has an exhibition at the Bargello Museum with an exciting reinterpretation of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice
by Daniela Pronesti
This is an exhibition you would not expect in the medieval heart of the Bargello. From July 9th until October 11th, the Florentine museum is hosting the works of international artist Adi Da Samraj in an event with the title, The Ascent of Orpheus – Between and Beyond Representation and Abstraction. Nine huge panels together with a multimedia projection bring us the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in a completely original re-telling, starting from the ending of the story, which transforms the much tormented ordeal of the two lovers into a metaphor of interior rebirth. In fact in this interpretation, Orpheus manages to free Eurydice from the world of darkness – it is the force of love that triumphs over the inevitability of fate. Therefore, Amor omnia vincit [Love conquers all], but not only that. To Adi Da Samraj, love is also knowledge, beauty, universal harmony; it is a path to light. A path that, in his case, unites art and life, bringing them together in a creative experience that goes beyond the subjectivity of vision and captures the totality of existence, the unity of matter and spirit. In one of his writings he talks about the necessity to go beyond sensory phenomena to reach the transcendental condition of reality, which he defines as “perfect reality”. A dimension that leads to a deep perception of our own being in the world, tracing new scenarios of awareness, possible ways out of the maze of reality – which is not completely denied, but led beyond itself to reveal its geometrical essence. There is nothing better than geometry as a figurative interpretation of apparent reality. Adi Da Samraj is convinced of that, and therefore he reconnects the figure to its primary geometrical matrix. The images come to life in a space where solid forms meet with intangible forms, dissolving and reappearing in a continuous metamorphic process. His visual grammar rejects the singularity of point of view to open to the complexity of the existing, through lightness of line, geometric stability, and strength of color. Overcoming mimetic realism, as well the simplification of formal elements, is not enough to speak about a real abstract process, except in the etymological meaning of the word “abstraction”, which means “to extract from”. From reality, the American artist extracts relations and correspondences, reducing it to its purest elements, making it tangible and limitless – an iconography without icons, which hides what is given in order to assert its contiguity with what is absent.
A language that erases the dichotomy between world and beyond-world, representation and abstraction, welding the sense of finitude with the necessity of transcendence. ” My images – Adi Da Samraj says – when viewed in depth, should induce tears in the eyes, restore joy to the life and, at last, show and give a perfect balance to the world as a whole”. This exhibition gives these emotions, offering visitors a message of joy and hope.
The Ascent of Orpheus exhibition coincides with celebrations of the 750th anniversary of Dante’s birth. That is why the Florence Dance Company of Marga Nativo and Keith Ferrone dedicated the multimedia performance Divina.com – performed in early July in the Bargello courtyard – to Adi Da Samraj, creating a meaningful interaction between the bodies of the dancers in motion and the linear and chromatic rhythms of the works in the exhibition.
caption for photo, top left: Some images of the multimedia show Divina.com created by the Florence Dance Company, inspired by the works of Adi Da Samraj which are visible in the background.