• Elias Sime, Tightrope: The Dominant, 2017, reclaimed insulated wire on panel, 81 3/8 x 126 inches.
    Collection of Erica Tennenbaum and Alex Friedman, New York. © Elias Sime. Photo: Phoebe d'Heurle

    Elias Sime, Tightrope: The Dominant, 2017, reclaimed insulated wire on panel, 81 3/8 x 126 inches.
    Collection of Erica Tennenbaum and Alex Friedman, New York. © Elias Sime. Photo: Phoebe d'Heurle

  • Elias Sime, Tightrope: Surface and Shadow 2, 2016, reclaimed electronic components and buttons on panel, 108 5/8 x 204 5/8 inches. 
    Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, Ohio. © Elias Sime. Photo: Brian Pinkley

    Elias Sime, Tightrope: Surface and Shadow 2, 2016, reclaimed electronic components and buttons on panel, 108 5/8 x 204 5/8 inches. 
    Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, Ohio. © Elias Sime. Photo: Brian Pinkley

  • Elias Sime, Tightrope: On the Edge, 2015, reclaimed electronic components on eight panels, 48 x 258 3/4 inches. 
    Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection,
    Museum purchase made possible by a gift from the William T. Kemper Charitable Trust, UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee, 2016.02.01. 
    © Elias Sime, courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, New York. Photo: E. G. Schempf, 2019

    Elias Sime, Tightrope: On the Edge, 2015, reclaimed electronic components on eight panels, 48 x 258 3/4 inches. 
    Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection,
    Museum purchase made possible by a gift from the William T. Kemper Charitable Trust, UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee, 2016.02.01. 
    © Elias Sime, courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, New York. Photo: E. G. Schempf, 2019

  • Elias Sime, Tightrope 3, 2009–14, reclaimed electronic components and fiberglass on panel, 81 1/2 x 195 inches. 
    Private collection, New York. © Elias Sime. Photo: Adam Reich Photography

    Elias Sime, Tightrope 3, 2009–14, reclaimed electronic components and fiberglass on panel, 81 1/2 x 195 inches. 
    Private collection, New York. © Elias Sime. Photo: Adam Reich Photography

  • Elias Sime, Tightrope: Behind the Beauty, 2017, reclaimed insulated wire on panel, 91 1/4 x 127 1/4 inches. 
    Collection of Scott Mueller, Cleveland, Ohio. © Elias Sime. Photo: Phoebe d'Heurle

    Elias Sime, Tightrope: Behind the Beauty, 2017, reclaimed insulated wire on panel, 91 1/4 x 127 1/4 inches. 
    Collection of Scott Mueller, Cleveland, Ohio. © Elias Sime. Photo: Phoebe d'Heurle

Elias Sime: Tightrope

Thursday, June 11, 2020 to Sunday, September 13, 2020
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

The first major museum exhibition to focus on the work of contemporary artist Elias Sime (Ethiopian, born 1968), Tightrope features more than two dozen works of art in varying scales and showcases brightly-colored tableaux and sculptural assemblages rooted in both the figurative and abstract modes of modern Ethiopian art.

Sime repurposes salvaged electronic components such as circuits and keyboards in his work to explore the precarious balance between the progress that technology has made possible and its detrimental impact on the global environment. The exhibition explores how devices intended to connect us have instead mediated our interactions while simultaneously creating massive amounts of e-waste. Sime’s work—like topographical maps or aerial perspectives of vast landscapes—also points to the natural pathways existing in the environment, revealing that the organic fibers which connect us are not unlike the inner workings of man-made machines. Deconstructing them can expose and demystify their internal dynamics, allowing for a new lyricism and energy to emerge.

Elias Sime: Tightrope is organized by the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, Clinton, New York, and will travel to the Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri; and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada.

Sustaining Sponsors
Copaken Family Fund
Norm Fretwell and Bev Haskins
Morgenthaler Family Foundation