• 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

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 Ethiopian artist Elias Sime (b. 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.

Repurposing salvaged electronic components, such as circuits and keyboards, Sime recognizes the uneasy balance between the advances made possible by technology and the impact they have had on our humanity and environment. Titled, Tightrope, the exhibition aims to explore the precarious balance between the progress technology has made possible and its detrimental impact on the environment by exploring how devices intended to connect us have mediated our interactions while creating massive amounts of e-waste. Sime’s work also points to the fact that like natural pathways existing in the environment, the organic fibers that 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 (September 7–December 8, 2019), and will travel to the Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio (February –May 24, 2020), Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri (June 11–September 13, 2020), and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada (December 12, 2020–April 18, 2021).