Elias Sime at Frieze London 2022

Regent's Park | Booth B10 | October 12-16, 2022
  • For the 2022 edition of Frieze London, James Cohan is pleased to present a solo booth of new work by Ethiopian multidisciplinary artist Elias Sime. The fair is open to the public from October 13 through October 16, with an invite-only preview on Wednesday, October 12. 

  • The works in this special presentation are part of Sime’s ongoing Tightrope series. The artist deftly weaves, layers and assembles materials into abstract compositions that suggest topography, figuration, and sublime color fields. The history of his materials hold meaning, as they are the backbone of all communication systems, whether they be telephone or computer. They suggest the tenuousness of our interconnected world, alluding to the frictions between human contact and social networks, nature and the man-made, and physical presence and the virtual.
  • Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, the Steven and Lisa Tananbaum Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, writes:
  • "Sime's practice is located at the intersection of the local and the global. The artist operates with a spacious creative license, addressing the experiences of his immediate environment while mirroring and transcending Ethiopia's rich artistic traditions, cultural heritage, and history to come into his own as an image and object maker.”

  • Formed from discarded technological components–including salvaged motherboards and electrical wires–that have traveled from far-reaching locations across the globe to his hometown of Addis Ababa, Sime’s Tightrope works meticulously weave, layer and assemble his chosen found materials into intricate abstract compositions. Working at monumental scale, Sime’s wall-mounted works see the idea dictate the material, or alternately the material dictate the idea.

  • Sime insists that his work  speaks not of Ethiopia or of Africa per se but of human experience. With ‘Tightrope’, especially he makes a persuasive argument that his work must be approached as a humanist enquiry, not reductively.

    – Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi

  • Elias Sime (b.1968 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) deftly weaves, layers and assembles carefully selected everyday materials, transforming commonplace items into lyrical abstract compositions that suggest topography, figuration, and color fields. He often creates intricate works from electronic components—including circuit boards, computer keys, and telecommunications wires. For Sime, the history of these materials hold meaning and their significance emerges after thorough consideration. They suggest the tenuousness of our interconnected world, alluding to the frictions between tradition and progress, human contact and social networks, nature and the man-made, and physical presence and the virtual.

    Sime was selected to participate in the 59th Venice Biennale  (April 23 to November 27, 2022). 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. His work is included in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, Orlando, FL; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA; Detroit Institute of Arts, MI; Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA; Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; Newark Museum, Newark, NJ; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC; North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, ND; Norval Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa; Pérez Art Museum Miami, Miami, FL; Pizzuti Collection at the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada; Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO; Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation, Santa Fe, NM; Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH; Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, UT; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA; 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan. LEARN MORE →