The Ascent of Orpheus
between and beyond representation and abstraction
For the second time in its 150-year history, the Bargello National Museum hosts a solo contemporary art show, THE Ascent of Orpheus: Between and Beyond Representation and Abstraction, by the American-born artist Adi Da Samraj. In an unusual bridging of ancient myth and digitally composed large-scale fabrications, the exhibition is Adi Da’s sweeping and at times demanding retelling of the famous Orpheus and Eurydice myth. The exhibit runs from 9 July to 11 October 2015 in two galleries off the Bargello courtyard. Through the nine large-scale pieces and the multimedia projection in the exhibition, Adi Da demonstrates his radical approach to “aperspectival, aniconic, and anegoic” art. Drawn from his Orpheus One and Linead One suites created in 2007, the digitally composed works, some never shown publicly before, demonstrate the artist’s reach beyond the linear perspective and individual “point of view” that have dominated Western art since the Renaissance. The exhibition is also a testament to Adi Da’s advance in what he considered to be the unfinished modernist project of the early 20th-century avant-garde. Achille Bonito Oliva, the internationally acclaimed Italian art critic and historian who curated Adi Da Samraj’s official collateral exhibition at the 2007 Venice Biennale, notes in his essay in the Ascent of Orpheus exhibition catalog: “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.” The exhibition coincides with the 750th anniversary of the birth of Dante and opens with collaborative performances of Divina.com by the Florence Dance Company on 9, 10, and 11 July in the Bargello Museum courtyard. The ballet, inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, integrates monumental projections of images by Adi Da. The images move on screen in dynamic interaction with the dancers and are also the inspiration for the costume design.