Adi Das, profile - Artweek.la, September 2011
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Despite the fact he died in 2008, the work of Adi Da,
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 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,the work of Adi Da has been overseen by
a devoted team who have meticulously catalogued and managed this vast
collection of work, ensuring it maintains a global presence.
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
Adi Da's 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.
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
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 was 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.
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 imagesto 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
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, Charlie
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.
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
Future Adi Da shows, include a current exhibition Orpheus
and Linead, which travelled to Beverly Hills from the Sundaram Tagore Gallery
in New York, where it premiered last September. Next year there is a plan for
an exhibition with Galerie 103 on the Hawaiian island ofKauai 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's Da's work will also be shown with David Richard
Gallery at Art Miami in December of this year. A museum show of images which
premiered at the 2007 Venice Biennale is also set for the Van Der Togt museum