Elias Sime

James Cohan, New York / USA

April 27–June 29, 2019
April 26, 2019


James Cohan will present NOISELESS, an exhibition of new work by Elias Sime, at the gallery’s Chelsea location from April 27 through June 29. NOISELESS is Sime’s third solo exhibition at James Cohan. The gallery will host an opening reception with the artist on Saturday, April 27, from 6–8pm.

Ethiopian artist Elias Sime creates intricate, wall-mounted works on a monumental scale from discarded technological components—including salvaged motherboards, electrical wires, and Soviet-era transistors—that have traveled from far-reaching locations across the globe to the open-air Merkato in his hometown of Addis Ababa. Sime meticulously weaves, layers and assembles these found materials into compositions suggestive of aerial landscape, figuration, and at times pure abstraction, often employing patterning drawn from traditional Ethiopian textiles. Sime titles this body of work “tightropes,” in reference to the tenuous balance between the progress engendered by technology and its detrimental impact on the environment. NOISELESS will feature ten new large scale works from Sime’s Tightrope series, which demonstrate the breadth of the artist’s practice. These works represent an evolution in Sime’s visual language towards denser patterning and a heightened dimensionality, which he achieves by carving the individual electronic components.

Concurrent with NOISELESS, James Cohan will present a selection of new work by Elias Sime at 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair New York at Industria, West Village from May 2–5.

The Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College will present Elias Sime: Tightrope in the fall of 2019, marking the artist’s first major museum survey. Curated by Tracy L. Adler, the Wellin Museum's Johnson-Pote Director, the exhibition highlights Sime's work from the last decade, much of which comprises the series entitled "Tightrope," alongside a selection of early works critical to the artist's development. On view from September 7 through December 8, 2019 at the Wellin Museum of Art, the exhibition will travel to the Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio (February 29–May 24, 2020), the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri (June 11–September 13, 2020), and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada (December 12, 2020–April 18, 2021). Elias Sime: Tightrope will be accompanied by the first monograph focusing on the work of Elias Sime and features contributions by Tracy L. Adler; Meskerem Assegued, anthropologist, curator and founder of the Zoma Museum; Karen Milbourne, Curator of the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution; and Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi, Curator of African Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art. This book will be co-published by the Wellin Museum of Art and Delmonico Books—Prestel.

Elias Sime (b. 1968, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) is a prominent name both in Africa and internationally. Working with curator and anthropologist Meskerem Assegued, Sime co-founded and designed the Zoma Contemporary Art Center (now Zoma Museum) in Addis Ababa, an international art center described by the New York Times in 2009 as “a voluptuous dream, a swirl of ancient technique and ecstatic imagination.” Zoma Museum celebrated its grand opening in its new location in March of this year. 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 the Santa Monica Museum of Art, California, to the 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, London and Stockholm.

Elias Sime’s work is included in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Newark Museum, NJ; Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; Toledo Museum of Art, OH; Perez Museum of Art, Miami; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Detroit Institute of Arts, MI; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA; North Dakota Museum of Art; Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH; Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville; Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, NH; and the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Foundation, Chicago, IL.

For inquiries regarding Elias Sime, please contact Annie Stuart at astuart [​at​] jamescohan.com or T 212 714 9500.

For press inquiries, please contact Sarah Stengel at sstengel [​at​] jamescohan.com or T 212 714 9500.