An Extraordinary Glimpse of Normal

We have a long way to go to get to normal in dealing with the pandemic. A recent visit to the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City gave me a small sense of normal and a good taste of what art lovers like me have been missing.

As I shared in a post about quilting years ago, quilting began as a way to use up leftover scraps of fabric. But now it has been evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry. Ethiopian artist Elias Sime brings together leftover computer components to make stunning works of art, some of which look like quilts. His recently-closed exhibit at the Kemper was entitled “Tightrope.”

This work made up of reclaimed electronic components and fiberglass looks like a satellite image. It is entitled “Tightrope: 3, 2009-14.”
Detail of “Tightrope 3, 2009-14.”
Look closely, this work, “Tightrope, Familiar Yet Complex 6, 2016,” is made entirely out of reclaimed keyboard keys.
Detail of “Tightrope, Familiar Yet Complex 6, 2016.
This work reminds me of a quilt. It is made of reclaimed electronic circuit boards and electronic wires and is entitled “Tightrope: Familiar Yet Complex 1, 2016”
Detail of “Tightrope, Familiar Yet Complex 1, 2016.
Tightrope: Surface and Shadow 2, 2016″ is made of buttons and reclaimed electronic components.
Detail of “Tightrope: Surface and Shadow 2, 2016
Different colored wires are all that were used to make “Tightrope: Whirlwind, 2017
Detail of “Tightrope: Whirlwind, 2017”

Bonus photos

By entitling the exhibit “Tightrope,” Sime seeks to emphasize the uneasy balance between technology, humanity and the environment. These works show us that the organic fibers that connect our bodies are not unlike the inner workings of man-made machines.

A native of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Elias Sime is cofounder of the Zoma Museum in Addis Ababa. His works have been exhibited around the world and are included in the permanent collections of numerous well-known museums.

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