The Convento di Ognissanti in Florence is the venue for a highly refined confrontation between the two poles of art.  As soon as you walk into the convent the surprise factor is explosive. The eye is immediately attracted to the magnificent ?Last Supper? which Domenico Ghirlandaio painted in 1480.  This fresco on the end wall of the convent with its sedate colours has dramatic touches like the figure of Jesus announcing to those present that one of them will betray him.  But the eye is also caught by a series of works with quite a different impact; works whose  strong lines and violent chromatic stimuli are appeased by the soft and pacifying forms of Ghirlandaio?s fresco. They are the works of Adi Da Samraj, a unique connection between Renaissance art and Transcendental Realism, works of great significance as this is the first time that an exhibition of contemporary art enters the hallowed Cenacolo Convent.   A context consonant and perfectly in line with the poetry of Adi Da Samraj who maintains that the profound significance of his art can best be revealed in its entirety in an environment which  endorses his reflections, a place like a church or somewhere sacred, places which are rigorously and artistically open to that which can go beyond the space of transformation of life.  And Cristina Acidini, who is head of Florence?s museums, agrees with Adi Da Samraj when she states: ?The secret and subtle friendship between two aesthetic languages founded on the same principles of harmony and purity make this tension an added attraction, to be enjoyed as a successful experiment.?  
Following the critical and public acclaim of the exhibition at the Venice Biennial of which Achillle Bonito Oliva was curator, Adi Da Samraj?s works are now embraced by classical art.  An unexpectedly tender and welcoming embrace, a contrast which paradoxically generates a structured dialogue.  A rich and enriching approach to the variegated expressions which,  whatever the technique or the dynamics, all have the final goal of communicating.    

And Adi Da Samraj, has much to communicate: his spirituality, his philosophy of life, his narrative capacity, his theatrical inclination, his aesthetic sensitivity which is inspired by that Modernism of which he studied the fundamental themes concentrating on Gertrude Stein and her contemporaries. But the art of Adi Da Samraj is never removed from the profound spirituality which blossomed in the artist in 1964 when he began a period under his spiritual mentors in the United States and India.  For more than 30 years Adi Da Samraj,  who was born in New York  and is a long-time resident of Fiji, has been considered a successful artist and spiritual guide but it is only in the last decade that he began to work on new forms of digital technology, producing complex and refined images which express, for those who are able to understand them,  his philosophical and religious teachings and his art.  And the exhibition entitled Transcendental Realism (in Florence through 22nd June 2008) is the result of this: art, technology and spirituality.  Monumental panels on which the audacity of the colours is equal only to that of the geometrical forms which interlock and retreat, reiterating  the vivid and powerful signs  of a language which is apparently elementary but is, in point of fact,  highly complex.

Here too the contrast flatters the American artist who entrusts his intimate and spiritual poetry and his philosophical  language to purely technological means, to digital writing, which   eschews its coldness to interpret the artistic  idea and returns it without standardization to the attentive observer.

?The Window of Alberti I (1.37 x 14.19 metres), a striking work in every sense, is the largest of the four works in the Florentine exhibition and is a reference to Leon Battista Alberti,  the Florentine Renaissance architect and philosopher whose ideas on perspective have been assimilated by  Adi Da Samraj. Speaking of Adi Da Samraj  Achille Bonito Oliva says: He has created a new use of geometry, turning it into fertile ground for unconventional aesthetic communications which like to develop their principles through surprise and emotions.?  

The exhibition, under the auspices of the Soprintendenza Speciale per il Polo Museale della città di Firenze and the Ministery for Culture, is organised by  Da Plastique in collaboration with the Promotional Committee of Inverno a Firenze. The sponsors of the exhibition are the Banca Toscana (Gruppo MPS) and the Grand Hotel, Florence (Luxury Collection).

Inverno a Firenze
Tel. 055.051.6361

Da Plastique
+(1)866.966.1080 www.adidabiennale.org

The exhibition was inaugurated at 17.30  on Saturday 23rd February, 2008  

Cenacolo di Ognissanti
Via Borgo Ognissanti, 42 – Florence

Tel 055 2388720
Opening hours: 9.00 – 17.00. Closed: Wednesdays
Free entrance