Elias Sime: TIGHTROPE: Behind the Processor
GRIMM is pleased to present a solo exhibition with works by Ethiopian artist Elias Sime (b. 1968 in Addis Ababa, ET) in Amsterdam (NL). This exhibition is the artist’s third solo presentation with the gallery.
Elias Sime is a multi-disciplinary artist, best known for his large-scale reliefs made from recycled consumer electronics. Sime’s process is motivated by a will to re-claim and re-examine our relationship to our environment. He uses braiding and layering techniques to create vast mosaics composed of keyboards, circuits, wires, and all manner of e-waste imported into his home country, Ethiopia. These materials are sourced from the largest open-air market in Africa located in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Elias Sime, one of the most prolific artists of our time has been using electronic components to express his observation and imagination of humanity’s complications and its future. A processor is the key component of an electrical circuit necessary to interpret and execute electrical signals fed into the device. Behind the Processor is an extension of Elias’ TIGHTROPE series that began in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2013 and has been traveling in different galleries and museums around the world.
- Meskerem Assegued, 2023
Sime’s works serve as records of the global exchange of commodities, and the conceptual transformations of matter from raw materials, to machine, waste, and finally as art. He alternates between biomorphic forms, landscapes, and pure abstraction, relying on the materials to guide his intuitive, measured approach. The equilibrium of universalists concepts—between humanity and nature, progress and tradition, material, and concept—are explored in the series Tightrope. The title refers to the precarious balance between the advancements that technology has made possible and their detrimental impact on the environment. Sime’s works draw upon their materiality, to comment on the resilience of nature, social responsibility, and the beauty of the utilitarian.
Elias Sime is deeply involved in developing the Ethiopian art community and has established a research practice studying the ancient rituals of rural communities in the country. Together with his long-time collaborator, curator and anthropologist Meskerem Assegued, Sime founded the Zoma Museum which opened in Addis Ababa in 2019.
In 2019, Sime was awarded the African Art Award by the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, and he was a 2020 Hugo Boss Prize Nominee. Sime was included in the exhibition Il latte dei sogni at the 59th Biennale di Venezia (2022), curated by Cecilia Alemani, in Venice (IT).