The Saint Louis Art Museum is featuring works by artist Elias Sime. “On an unusually warm day in December 2019, Sime and his creative partner, curators and anthropologist Meskerem Assegued visited St. Louis in preparation for the exhibition Currents 118: Elias Sime. Their first destination was Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, where they viewed the mounds of the ancient Native American city directly across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. Sime’s focus on global phenomena extends beyond contemporary systems of communication and exchange to ancient histories of art and architecture and their unique visual languages. Standing on Monks Mound, Sime and Assegued discussed Ethiopia’s own historic mounds, which were built between the 8th and 15th centuries. With only one day in St. Louis before heading back to Ethiopia, there was just enough time to see the Gateway Arch, a St. Louis landmark and an outstanding achievement in sculpture and engineering.
The exhibit titled Tightrope: Eyes and Ears of a Bat 1 and 2. These large-scale, concave bowls invert the iconic forms of the mound the arch. The half-spherical shapes are covered with wires and electrical components, like freestanding versions of Sime’s iconic wall-hung assemblages. Braided and twisted electrical wires nailed into the bowls’ surfaces evoke both movement in nature and painterly brushstrokes. Sime chose their brown, terra-cotta, and green colors to allude to the shades of the Midwestern winter landscape he saw from the vantage point of Monks Mound. Through its unique materiality, Sime’s art expresses an astute commentary on environmental sustainability, the power of nature, global social connections, and the beauty of the utilitarian.”
The exhibit closes January 31, 2021. For more information on visiting check SLAM’s website.