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Adi Da Samraj

Artweeek.LA
Cover Story / Artist Profile
Week of September 5, 2011

Craig Stephens


Artweek.LA is made for people who love art and need to know what's going on in Los Angeles. This article was first published on the Artweek.LA website. Journalist Craig Stephens is Australian born, but has resided in the United States since January, 2000. His work has appeared in a spectrum of global titles, including Artweek, The, Dart, Fabrik, LA Weekly, LA Times, Daily Beast, GQ, Esquire, and others.

Adi Da Samraj in his studioDespite the fact he died in 2008, the work of Adi Da Samraj, artist, writer and spiritualist lives on. Internationally he was a creative and technical visionary who produced an exhaustive catalogue of work, spanning some 40 years. In addition to his art, Adi Da was a spiritual teacher who produced tomes of writing about the subject.

Adi Da began his first work in the early sixties and during the first thirty years he produced a diverse body of drawings, paintings, and sculptural forms. In 1998 he made the transition to photography and videography, remaining entrenched in this media for six years.

His primary bodies of work use the figurative form and other archetypes to address the deepest issues of human existence. In 2006, he moved to digital technology, while still combining hand-drawn and painted forms as well as photographs within his compositions. In November 2007, he reached what he described as the "final resolution" of his entire artistic process, before passing in 2008.

Since his death, a devoted team who have meticulously catalogued and managed this vast collection of work, ensuring it maintains a global presence, has overseen the work of Adi Da.

Eurydice One: The Illusory Fall of The Bicycle Into The Sub-Atomic  Parallel Worlds of Primary Color and Point of View - Part Three: The Abstract Narrative In Geome and Linead (Second Stage) - 1, 2, 2007, 2010, lacquer on aluminum, 96 x 96 inches Eurydice One: The Illusory Fall of The Bicycle Into The Sub-Atomic Parallel Worlds of Primary Color and Point of View - Part Three: The Abstract Narative In Geome and Linead (Second Stage) - III, 4 (Diptych) 2007, 2010 Lacquer on aluminum 96 x 200"

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His self proclaimed “visual communication of truth,” moreover his work has been since exhibited widely in Europe and the United States. Adi Da was also featured as an official solo collateral artist at the 2007 Venice Biennale.

Stanley Hastings, an agent serving as a spokesperson for the estate and collection revealed some insights into the perpetuation and global profile Adi Da’s work, which has taken the form of fabrications, video projections, digital prints and beyond.

“Adi Da did not consider his work ‘digital art’, however, he pushed digital technology to its limits in order to serve his artistic intentions. In the nineties, he explored the limits of digital printing in terms of size and quality. He worked with master digital printers from the west coast to the east coast, requiring them to develop custom printing profiles and software to realize the requirements of his imagery.”

Hastings elaborates on Adi Da’s latter day technique stating that Adi Da was very careful to develop and define a process that would continue after his lifetime.


LA Contemporary Exhibition, August, 2008
Left: Alberti's Room: Part Six - The Beloved Is Self, I, 2007 (from Oculus Two)
Right: from Linead One

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He says that in 2006, Adi Da’s artistic work moved from photography to working in a digital studio. With this form he composed all of his images on a projection screen. Working in a studio with two large projection screens he appointed one as a “paint box” or “image library” where he would review scans of drawings and paintings he had made by hand, as well as his photographs.

The other (left) hand screen was his digital “canvas”. Elements would be selected from the right screen and moved to the composition on the left screen. A group of technical operators worked with Adi Da in this process, executing his precise instructions. In addition to using such programs as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop they had to write custom software to accommodate the unique requirements of Adi Da’s work.

Adi Da determined the exact paint values for each of the colors he used on his projection screen. He never signed his one-of-a-kind fabrications by hand, but instead opted to have a stainless steel plate permanently attached to the back of each fabrication with his signature and the name of the work laser-engraved on the plate.

Eurydice One: The Illusory Fall of The Bicycle Into The Sub-Atomic  Parallel Worlds of Primary Color and Point of View - Part Three: The Abstract Narrative In Geome and Linead (Second Stage) - 1, 2, 2007, 2010, lacquer on aluminum, 96 x 96 inches click to enlarge

Also, planning for his work to undergo fabrication, Adi Da allocated a size to each of the images he created digitally as well. It takes about 4 months to complete the fabrication of one of Adi Da’s images. However, he created thousands of images to be fabricated. He knew that only a relative few would be able to be fabricated during his lifetime, and so left exact directions for how the fabrications should occur beyond his lifetime. This is all overseen in exact detail by his enduring studio, which he named “Da Plastique”.

He worked closely with some of the world’s best fine art fabricators to develop the fabrication of his art. The final result was developed working directly with Peter Carlson of Carlson and Company who fabricated all of Jeff Koons balloon dog and rabbit sculptures, Charles Ray and Ellsworth Kelly’s large sculptures.

Peter Carlson often says that Adi Da’s fabrications were, in fact, the most difficult and challenging project he ever did. The end result is a most extraordinary translation of Adi Da’s digital files into monumental scale screen painted lacquer on honeycomb aluminum panels.

Eurydice One: The Illusory Fall of The Bicycle Into The Sub-Atomic  Parallel Worlds of Primary Color and Point of View - Part Three: The Abstract Narrative In Geome and Linead (Second Stage) - 1, 2, 2007, 2010, lacquer on aluminum, 96 x 96 inches The Florence Dance Company performing Divina.com
with Adi Da's Image-Art in the background

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In terms of influences, Adi Da particularly admired the non-representational work of the European modernist painters of the early 20th century, including Kandinsky, Mondrian, Malevich, and others. He also held American abstract expressionists such as Gorky, Pollock, and Rothko in high regard.

Future Adi Da shows include a current exhibition, Orpheus and Linead, which travelled to Sundaram Tagore Gallery in Beverly Hills from their New York gallery, where it premiered last September. Next year there is a plan for an exhibition at Galerie 103 on the Hawaiian island of Kauai of Adi Da’s early underwater photographic work, followed by a show of his late work at the David Richard Gallery in Santa Fe.

Adi Da’s work will also be shown with David Richard Gallery at Art Miami in December of this year. A museum show of work, which premiered at the 2007 Venice Biennale, is also set for the Van Der Togt Museum in Holland.


Eurydice One: The Illusory Fall of The Bicycle Into The Sub-Atomic  Parallel Worlds of Primary Color and Point of View - Part Three: The Abstract Narrative In Geome and Linead (Second Stage) - 1, 2, 2007, 2010, lacquer on aluminum, 96 x 96 inches

Eurydice One: The Illusory Fall of The Bicycle Into The Sub-Atomic Parallel Worlds of Primary Color and Point of View - Part Three: The Abstract Narrative In Geome and Linead (Second Stage) - 1, 2 2007, 2010 Lacquer on aluminum 96 x 96"

click to enlarge

 


Quotations from and/or photographs of Avatar Adi Da Samraj used by permission of the copyright owner:
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