'Ethiopian artist Elias Sime employs the material aspects of technology--electrical wires and transistors, cell-phone components, computer keyboards, and motherboards, for example-- in ways that often suggest natural forms, such as...
"Ethiopian artist Elias Sime employs the material aspects of technology--electrical wires and transistors, cell-phone components, computer keyboards, and motherboards, for example-- in ways that often suggest natural forms, such as landscapes and figures. The artist remarks, “ Humans are the bridge between the natural and built environments. We cannot be separated from either one.” Expertly braiding and twisting electrical wires into textile-like surfaces with gestures akin to brushstrokes, Sime creates a sense of movement and energy that evokes various organic phenomena- a rising wisp of smoke, clouds in the sky, light reflecting off the surface of water, a bird’s-eye view of a landscape. His works are an exercise in patience: sometimes he searches for materials for years to complete a tableau in a specific palette.
The artist’s ongoing series of the past decade, “Tightrope,” begun in 2009, acknowledges the tensions among technology, society, and nature without elevating one over the other or implying a particular hierarchy. The densely woven and layered surfaces draw upon their materiality to comment on ecological sustainability, the resilience of nature, our social responsibility, and the beauty of the utilitarian. Through the title “Tightrope,” Sime recognizes the uneasy balance between the advances made possible by technology and the impact they have had on our humanity and environment, exploring how devices intended to connect us have mediated our interactions and lived experiences while creating massive amounts of e-waste. He deconstructs these modern means of communication to expose and demystify their internal dynamics, allowing a new lyricism and energy to emerge. Sime’s work also points to the fact that the natural pathways that exist in humans, flora and fauna and the environment- the organic fibers we all share-are not unlike the inner workings of man-made machines. Furthermore, nature itself shows the effects of human intervention. From genetically engineered fruits and vegetables to cloned animals, the natural world around us has also been manipulated. The message of interconnectivity and commonality over difference pervades Sime’s oeuvre.”
- Tracy L Adler, Introduction, "Elias Sime: Tightrope", Published in conjunction with the exhibition "Elias Sime: Tightrope," organized by the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, Published by the Wellin Museum of Art and DelMonico BooksIPrestel, 2019.
Elias Sime, TIGHTROPE: ECHO!?, James Cohan, 48 Walker St, March 19 - April 24, 2021 June 3, 2020 - October 11, 2020: Yokohama Triennale, c/o Yokohama Museum of Art