En humanistisk klassicism

Bokrelease. Stockholm 1 december. Jan Rydén Bonmots nya bok En humanistisk klassicism – Ornament, färg och materialitet i kooperativa bostadsområden i Stockholm 1915-1930 ger en historisk introduktion till 1920-talets progressiva bostadskooperation i Stockholm och till den estetik som formade dess arkitektur.

Under perioden 1915-1930 skapades en rad småskaliga och pittoreska stadsdelar i Stockholm. I dessa kooperativa bostadsområde byggs överkomliga bostäder för arbetare med alla moderniteter, nytänkande produktion och högsta standard. Slående är hur snabbt utbyggnaden går, och att billiga bostäder byggs med både hög teknisk standard och höga konstnärliga ambitioner. 

Arkitekterna lägger stor vikt vid att skapa trivsel genom färgsättning, ornament, materialitet, stora planterade gårdar och vindlande gator. Det är en klassicism i mänsklig skala.

I En humanistisk klassicism får läsaren både den idéhistoriska bakgrunden och en genomgång av arkitektur och designmönster.

Bokens appendix ger en översiktlig introduktion till klassisk arkitektur, som en referens för att förstå den svenska tjugotalsklassicismens särart, i synnerhet dess tillämpning i de kooperativa stadsdelarna som boken behandlar.

288 sidor. Rikt illustrerad med foton, ritningar och arkivmaterial.

Text och foto: Jan Rydén Bonmot. Arvinius + Orfeus

Supporting act to Thierfelder

Magnus Thierfelder Den kultiverade kajan Kulturhuset Örebro. Foto: Magnus Thierfelder

If there ever was such a thing as being a ”supporting act” in fine art – as there is in music – this would be it. Magnus Thierfelder used Allborgarrätten, and a number of other classics to support his art piece ”Den kultiverade kajan” (The Cultivated Jackdaw, Corvus menedula) for the new cultural house in Örebro. Always great work from Magnus Thierfelder, check out his other pieces. I’m honored to be included as support along Rachel Carson, Thoreau and Harry Martinsson among others.

Målning på Manifestation Lövholmen

Jag deltar med en ny, aldrig tidigare visad målning i grupputställningen Manifestation Lövholmen på Färgfabriken 20 augusti – 30 augusti 2020.

Målningen har fått namnet Grödorna, Färgerna, Fälten och är den första i en ny serie. Den målad under våren och sommaren 2020.

Ett sextital konstnärer och kulturutövare deltar i Manifestation Lövholmen, ett initiativ som sätter ljus på Lövholmen som en unik kulturell nod i Stockholm – en plats som alstrar kreativitet och bär på en rik historia.

Salon! ”Sprezzatura” Jan Rydén, painting


On popular demand; a second chance. Welcome to an art salon in Jenny Bergström’s apartment gallery at Kolbäcksgränd 22 on Sunday February 9, 2020, 13h-16h.  You will find a selection of Jan Rydén’s enigmatic and colorful paintings on display. Some of them visible above, even though they are notoriously hard to photograph since the camera registers color in another way than the eye.

At 14 h we will have a talk on Jan’s painting and its central role in an artistic practice that spans from installations, sound pieces and urbanism to essays.

Welcome! Refreshments will be served. Please RSVP


I will be showing a selection of paintings, many not exhibited before, at the lovely Jenny Bergström’s apartment gallery on Kolbäckgränd 22. She will be hosting a salon on January 25, 2020 from noon until 4 PM.  At 2 PM we will have a talk about my work. Otherwise viewing only by special appointment.

The title ”sprezzatura” is an Italian term used in men’s clothing, another interest of mine, where it denotes the art of being well dressed with apparent effortlessness, even carelessness. It can also encompass a breaking of the rules, in a way that still looks good. It is the opposite of the type of nervous perfection of perfect symmetry, spotless surfaces and immaculate straight lines. The term sprezzatura first appears in Baldessare Castiglione’s Il Libro del CortegianoThe Book of the Courtier, (1528). Sprezzatura is defined by Castiglione as ”a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it”.

It all connected when again I came across the concept of ”sprezzatura” in a very in-depth book on Rembrandt (Ernst Wan De Wetering. Rembrandt: The Painter at Work. ). Apparently the first Dutch edition of Baldessare Castiglione’s Il Libro del Cortegiano appeared in 1662 and was dedicated to Jan Six, of whom Rembrandt made a famous portrait. Rembrandt and his contemporary painters were involved in a debate on painting in a smooth or rough manner. In his book Castiglioni draws a parallell between the demeanour of the courtier and the loose, seemingly careless manner with which the artist wields his brush.

In an interesting way this apparent effortlessness of style aligns with the kind of painters I have always enjoyed most. Figurative painters like Velázquez or Rembrandt who’s brushstrokes are loose and free, and whose paintings at close examination can look like blotches of paint or geological samples. Or someone like the contemporary American Mary Heilmann. When we met the painter David Reed for the Thinking Through Painting-project, he told us his friend Mary Heilmann had been called a ”sloppy minimalist”. To me that sounds quite wonderful. Like ”sprezzatura”.




Allborgarrätten in Monocle guide

Allborgarrätten i Monocle 2

Recently a friend visiting from abroad made me aware of the fact that my artist book ”Allborgarrätten: The Right to the City As a Swedish Tradition” was featured in Monocle’s guide to Stockholm under the subject line ”things we’d buy”! Slowly the concept of allborgarrätten is seeping into Swedish identity, among with Dalahästar, perfumes from Byredo and books on Olle Eksell graphic design. I am really happy with this placement since the whole idea with the cover typo was a discreet hint to Absolut vodka and the rest of the book should be something in between a bible and a manifesto – but pink. The main idea with the art project is to make allborgarrätten as self-evident as allemansrätten when we talk about Swedish identity.

The Stockholm: The Monocle Travel Guide Series was published in 2017. Apparently the editors had picked up Allborgarrätten at Färgfabriken’s shop. It is also available at e.g. Moderna museet/ArkDes shop, or from online booksellers.

Artist talk in Berlin


Jan Rydén has been invited to give a lecture on his artist book ”Allborgarrätten: The Right to the City as a Swedish Tradition” at the Humboldt University in Berlin. The talk is part of the Dag Hammarskjöld lecture series (Dag-Hammarskjöld-Vorlesungen) organized by urban historian Professor Håkan Forsell. The lecture will take place on Dec 11, 2018 at the Nordeuropa Institut, Dorotheenstrasse 24, Berlin.

Artist talk i New York

Jan Rydén presenterade sin artist book ”Allborgarrätten: The Right to the City as a Swedish Tradition” på Van Alen Institute 27 oktober 2017 i New York som en del av utställningen Aiming for Democratic Architecture anordnad av Sveriges Arkitekter och Svenska institutet. Under en vecka arrangerades seminarier, samtal och workshops inför och under utställningen. Programmet tog sin utgångspunkt i arkitekturens roll i ett demokratiskt samhälle. Detta var Sveriges bidrag till New Yorks designmånad Archtober och programmet inleddes på Sveriges generalkonsulat.