Exhibitionin New York, NY / United States
James Cohan is pleased to present “Noiseless”, an exhibition of new work by Elias Sime at the gallery’s Chelsea location. This is Sime’s third solo exhibition at James Cohan.
Ethiopian multidisciplinary artist Elias Sime creates intricate, wall-mounted works on a monumental scale from discarded technological components – including salvaged motherboards and electrical wires – that have traveled from far-reaching locations across the globe to his hometown of Addis Ababa. Sime meticulously weaves, layers and assembles these found materials into abstract compositions suggestive of aerial landscape, figuration, and color field painting. Sometimes his idea dictates the material, while other times the material dictates the idea. Sime titles this body of work “tightropes,” in reference to the tenuous balance between progress and tradition.
“Noiseless” features ten new large scale works from Sime’s “Tightrope” series, which demonstrate the breadth and dexterity of the artist’s practice. The exhibition’s title is a reference to the creative space of free association engendered by silence. As the artist notes, “Noise is often associated with unpleasant sounds. Noise can also seem to create words, or words can be part of noise. Words channel our thinking along familiar paths towards realistic images. The absence of noise allows our minds to create unfamiliar and abstract images.”
The works in “Noiseless” “aim to reflect the unfamiliar and abstract images created in the mind in the absence of noise.” “I BURNED IT”, 2019, is one of the largest and most prominent pieces presented in “Noiseless”. After years of weaving the colorful wires on the small panels that make up the piece, Sime burned the surface, exposing the copper behind the colorful insulation. He remarks: “Nature is full of vibrant colors, which we humans not only enjoy, but often expect to see. I burned the surface of the painstakingly created colorful piece to invoke a dialogue about the identity of colors.”
Elias Sime (b. 1968, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) is a prominent name both in Africa and internationally. Working with his long-time collaborator, 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. Sime’s 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. The artist 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.
Gallery hours Tues-Sat 10 am – 6 pm
James Cohan Gallery
533 West 26th Street
10001 New York, NY