“In his work of the last decade, Ethiopian artist Elias Sime (b. 1968, Addis Ababa) brings together repurposed materials such as computer keyboards, motherboards, and electrical wires to create the complex, often colorful tableaus that make up the series TIGHTROPE. Composed of intricately woven and densely layered surfaces, these works draw upon their materiality to comment on ecological sustainability, the resilience of nature, 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 means of communication to expose and demystify their internal dynamics, allowing for a new lyricism and energy to emerge. Sime’s work also points to the fact that, like the natural pathways existing in plants, humans, and the environment, the organic fibers that connect us are not unlike the inner workings of man-made machines. The message of interconnectivity pervades the entirety of Sime’s approach.” — Tracy L. Adler, Johnson-Pote Director of the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College.
- Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY (September 7 – December 10, 2019)
- Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH (February 29 – May 24, 2020)
- Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MI (August 11, 2020 – January 31, 2021)
- Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, ON, Canada (April 3 – July 4, 2021)
Photos by John Bentham, courtesy of the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art.