Elena Manferdini's "Building the Picture" opened at the Art Institute of Chicago. To take and old space and make it fresh is a talent, one that requires the craft-er to see the space in a way that had not been intended before. LA-based architect, Elena Manferdini, possesses that unique vision, which manifests itself in her vibrant and colorful distortions.

Most recently, she aimed that vision at a line of buildings, specifically Mies van der Rohe's Lake Shore Drive apartments in Chicago. The exhibit was part of a Department of Architecture and Design series, where artists were to address issues that affected those of their profession. Taking images and patterns from the buildings' exteriors, Manferdini transformed the home space into a living space.

Furnished on vinyl and metal, the various prints create a visual matrix of patterns and hues. Taking inspiration from Mies' own grid treatments, traces of the grid were uploaded and made into digital mappings. From there, Manferdini shifted and colored in these grids with her own ideas. The results give the buildings of Chicago a new purpose and vitality, while keeping the basis of the original.

Her exploration of older structures grants them new-found appreciation, as well as new-found purpose. It is a way to bring the arts into our everyday, while still retaining the qualities of true artistic vision. It is one thing to look for beauty, it is another to draw it forth.

"Building The Picture" at the Art Institute of Chicago, March 7, 2015 to July 12, 2015
For more information: http://www.artic.edu/exhibition/elena-manferdini-building-picture

Dennis Delgado