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“The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization.” 

- Frank Lloyd Wright

A significant portion of (art)n‘s portfolio has explored architectural themes. Why Architecture? Since humankind started making images, artists have sought to use art to create virtual worlds that would bring their thoughts, beliefs, and emotions to life in the minds of others. This quest has demanded environments that are three dimensional and im- mersive. For millennia, architecture and theater filled this need. In particular, architecture offered the most immersive solution: an individual could navigate through its spaces, absorbing their religious, political, and/or aesthetic content.

(art)n also explored key architectural works of Frank Gehry, Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright, deconstructed to reveal the sculptural aspects of their assemblage, made of titanium, glass and brick materials. Gehry’s Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and Wright’s Robie House are all considered pioneering works of architecture Chicago is renowned for. 

“Since the dawn of civilization, we humans have endeavored to give substance to the imagined worlds of our ideas — often using those con- structs as sanctuaries from conflict. We have used literature, theater, art, and architecture to achieve this goal. Historically, architecture has of- fered the most immersive venue for the struggle to bring “virtual worlds” to life by reason of its three-dimensionality (and its ability to bring peace by providing physical shelter). Through the lens of modern and contem- porary architecture, this exhibition explores the blurry space between reality and virtual reality (VR) and how works of art can emerge from that arena.

In 1983 and inspired by Man Ray’s passion for experimentation, Ellen Sandor founded (art)n, an artists’ collaborative group. They produced virtual three-dimensional images called PHSColograms that could be seen with only the naked eye and could visualize the invisible — thus making them precursors to 21st century computer-based VR. Since its inception, (art)n has been a medium for visual artists to expand their vision into the world of 3D. Under Sandor’s direction, (art)n has also helped scientists visualize mathematical formulas, complex molecules, viruses, turbulence patterns and other phenomena and turned these images into works of art.”

Michel Ségard, Editor, New Art Examiner
(excerpt from Deconstruction in the Virtual World: Building Peace by Piece, 2015)

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