Elias Sime Returns for Second Solo Exhibition at James Cohan Gallery In NYC

Elias Sime lives and works in Addis Ababa. . (Photos: James Cohan Gallery, NYC)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April, 26th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian artist Elias Sime’s second solo exhibition at James Cohan Gallery In New York opens this week. The exhibition entitled Twisted & Hidden features Elias’ latest works of “large-scale artworks constructed from a grid-like arrangement of panels encrusted with electronic parts.” The show will be on view from April 28 through June 17 at James Cohan’s Chelsea location.

Similar to his previous show in Fall 2015 Elias’ new works also employ components of scrapped modern gadgets most of which he buys from Merkato. The press release adds that his “work is a meditation on connectivity and transformation. His unorthodox materials include reclaimed cell phone bodies, Soviet-era transistors, computer motherboards, brightly colored electrical wires, sections of plastic keyboards with other e-waste that has been discarded and sent to trash heaps across the African continent. This technological flotsam eventually washes up in the open-air markets of Addis Ababa, where Sime repurposes it into artworks.”

The New York Times described Elias’ work as being “culturally specific,” and “universalist” adding that “although never without critical thrust — no one knows better the horrors visited on Africa by shipments of toxic Western e-waste — it is utopian.”

According to James Cohan Gallery the current exhibition is “part of an ongoing series entitled “Tightrope,” which refers to the contemporary balancing act between technology and tradition, humanity and the environment. Elias Sime achieves effects from dense narrative to austere modernist abstraction. Some works recall pure color-field painting while others refer to architectonic geometries, textile patterns and information flows. Figurative moments emerge in some – a human face, a bird wing, a frog leaping from a tree branch. The artist resists the collagist’s shorthand of using discarded objects as poetic stand-ins for individual lives and instead finds renewal everywhere, taking the greatest interest in new ways that objects and ideas connect. The emphasis is on the transformative power of human creativity.”

About Elias Sime

Elias Sime (b. 1968, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) is a prominent name both in Africa and internationally. With the full cooperation of curator and anthropologist Meskerem Assegued, Sime founded and designed the Zoma Contemporary Art Center in Addis Ababa, an international art center described by the New York Times in 2014 as “a voluptuous dream, a swirl of ancient technique and ecstatic imagination.” His work has been shown internationally at the Dak’Art Biennale 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 Santa Monica Museum of Art, California, to North Dakota Museum of Art. Sime designed various costumes, props and set-pieces for Peter Sellars’ production of Stravinsky’s opera Oedipus Rex, performed at the Sydney Opera House as well as in Los Angeles, Aix-en-Provence and London. An upcoming performance of the opera will be staged in Stockholm.

Elias Sime’s work is included in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; Perez Museum of Art, Miami; North Dakota Museum of Art; Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville; Hood Museum, Dartmouth College, NH; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO, and Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College, NY.

Elias Sime lives and works in Addis Ababa.

If You Go:
Elias Sime
April 28 through June 17, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, April 28th, 6 – 8 PM
TEL 212.714.9500 FAX 212.714.9510

Elias Sime Eye of the Needle, Eye of the Heart at the Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMoA) from James Cohan Gallery on Vimeo.

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