Elias Sime

  • Elias Sime

  • Elias Sime (b.1968 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) meticulously weaves, layers and assembles these found materials into abstract compositions suggestive of aerial landscape, figuration, and color field painting, Sometimes his idea dictates the material, while other times the material dictates the idea. Sime is as interested in a stripped motherboard from a mobile phone as he is an animal skull or worn-out button: the artist looks past the emotional weighting of new versus old, instead finding renewal everywhere, and taking greatest interest in the way that objects and ideas can connect in new ways.

  • In Elias’s new body of work, the artist has affixed three-dimensional megaphones to the surface of the picture, introducing a...

    In Elias’s new body of work, the artist has affixed three-dimensional megaphones to the surface of the picture, introducing a new element to Sime’s ongoing Tightrope series. Sime continues to reclaim and repurpose obsolete technology of the communications world (motherboards and wires from coaxial cable), addressing the balancing act we must play between technology and IRL encounters. The artist is wary of this precarious position, fearing that we are getting lost in our phones, tablets and laptops.

  • Sime has exhibited extensively around the world. His work has been shown internationally at the Dak’Art Biennale of Contemporary African...

    Sime has exhibited extensively around the world. His work has been shown internationally at the Dak’Art Biennale of Contemporary African Art in Dakar, Senegal; the New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna, Austria; and in the United States at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Studio Museum in Harlem; and a survey exhibition that traveled from the Santa Monica Museum of Art, California, to the North Dakota Museum of Art. The Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College presented Elias Sime: Tightrope in the fall of 2019, marking the artist’s first major museum survey. Curated by Tracy L. Adler, the Wellin Museum’s Johnson-Pote Director, the exhibition highlights Sime’s work from the last decade, much of which comprises the series entitled Tightrope, alongside a selection of early works critical to the artist’s development. The exhibition travelled to the Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio, and is now on view at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri through January 2021. The exhibition is scheduled to open at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada in Spring 2021. Elias Sime: Tightrope is accompanied by the first monograph focusing on the work of Elias Sime, co-published by the Wellin Museum of Art and DelMonico Books • Prestel. Sime is also the subject of a solo exhibition entitled Currents 118: Elias Sime, now on view at the Saint Louis Art Museum until January 2021.

     

    In 2019, Sime received an African Art Award from the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and was shortlisted for the Hugo Boss Prize 2020.

  • Holland Cotter of The New York Times writes, “Sime’s work, while culturally specific, has always been universalist. And although never...

     

     

    Holland Cotter of The New York Times writes, “Sime’s work, while culturally specific, has always been universalist. And although never without critical thrust — no one knows better the horrors visited on Africa by shipments of toxic Western e-waste — it is utopian.”

     

  • Sime’s work achieves effects from dense narrative to austere modernist abstraction. The artist resists the collagist’s shorthand of using discarded...

    Sime’s work achieves effects from dense narrative to austere modernist abstraction. The artist resists the collagist’s shorthand of using discarded objects as traces or poetic stand-ins for human feelings or individual lives, favoring instead the idea of what Frieze writer Quinn Latimer has called “the feverish fusion of a multivalent society.” Sime is as interested in a stripped motherboard from a mobile phone as he is an animal skull or worn-out button: the artist looks past the emotional weighting of new versus old, instead finding renewal everywhere, and taking greatest interest in the way that objects and ideas can connect in new ways.

  • Elias Sime’s work is included in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Newark Museum, NJ; Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; Norval Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa; Toledo Museum of Art, OH; Pérez Art Museum Miami, FL; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Detroit Institute of Arts, MI; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA; North Dakota Museum of Art; Pizzuti Collection at the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville; Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, NH; the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Foundation, Chicago, IL; Utah Museum of Fine Arts; and 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa.