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Surveying work of the past decade, Elias Sime: Tightrope explores Ethiopian artist Elias Sime’s process, which brings together repurposed materials such as computer keys, motherboards, and electrical wires to create complex tableaus. Drawing upon their materiality, these works comment on ecological sustainability, the resilience of nature, social responsibility, and the beauty of the utilitarian. Through the series 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. He deconstructs these means of communication to expose their internal dynamics, allowing for a new lyricism and energy to emerge. From the brushwork of the Impressionist painters to the Twitter logo, from Socialist Realism to topographic photography, from linguistics to botany, all sources are fair game and ripe for interpretation.
Elias Sime: Tightrope will be accompanied by the first monograph focused on Sime’s work, which features contributions by Tracy L. Adler, Meskerem Assegued, Karen E. Milbourne, and Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi. This book will be copublished by the Wellin Museum of Art and DelMonico Books • Prestel and available for sale in December 2019. The exhibition will travel to the Akron Art Museum, OH; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; and Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. Curated by Tracy L. Adler, Johnson-Pote Director, Wellin Museum of Art