“Fresh dialogue about globally important matters” - Hastings exhibition

Elias Sime. Image by Alice Hendy Photography for Arnolfini.Elias Sime. Image by Alice Hendy Photography for Arnolfini.
Elias Sime. Image by Alice Hendy Photography for Arnolfini.
Hastings Contemporary offers Elias Sime: Eregata እርጋታ as its major spring show, running until September 8.

Spokesman Ian Roberts explained: “Elias Sime: Eregata እርጋታ celebrates the work of this multi-disciplinary artist who fuses extraordinary craftsmanship with a plethora of man-made objects. Elias’s work has been lauded across the globe and will feature prominently at the 2024 Venice Biennale. His artistic approach is so relevant in today’s unstable world, encouraging us to re-examine our relationship with our environment.

“Eregata እርጋታ will focus on the last decade of Elias’s career, with over 20 works on display, including complex and lyrical abstract topographies from his landmark series Tightrope (2009-present), and Bareness (2014), a large-scale ceramic installation consisting of 192 clay vessels.

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“Elias’s work is a record of the global exchange of commodities and how they are transformed from raw materials to machine, then into waste and finally their renaissance as art. The artist is revered for his progressive fusion of matter and artistic ideas, exploring global issues of sustainability, the resources we consume and the impact of technology on today’s society.

“The exhibition title Eregata እርጋታ is derived from Amharic, which the artist translates to the English word serene. Although one view of that word positively conveys a sense of stillness and calm, Elias describes eregata as recognition that our minds are never truly still or calm.”

He said: “We struggle to stop and sleep because our brains are constantly stimulated by technology - we are constantly moving faster not slower.”

Elias works against this fixation with technology, embracing a notion of slowness: “My art is slowing it down. The work forces me to slow down.”

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Elias adopts a collaborative approach, working with a team of studio assistants to create his artwork; a process which is reflective of the reused and repurposed technological materials which have passed through numerous hands in their journey from raw material to waste.

Elias explains: “Each material I collect has its own story and has been touched by many hands. It has its own language. All the different stories related to the material move me, and I transform these intuitive reactions into my compositions.”

Liz Gilmore, director of Hastings Contemporary added: “As part of Hastings Contemporary’s ongoing commitment to bringing world-class art to Hastings, we are thrilled to be launching our spring season by showcasing the work of Ethiopian artist Elias Sime. Running concurrently with Sime’s exhibition in Venice, this ambitious exhibition offers fresh dialogue about globally important matters of environmental sustainability and the impacts of technology, made all the more poignant by the gallery’s unique position between land and sea.’”

Elias Sime: Eregata እርጋታ originated at Arnolfini, Bristol UK, and is a collaboration with Hastings Contemporary and Kunstpalast Düsseldorf, Germany.

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