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.

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”.




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.

Allborgarrätten at MNAC – Dalles Hall, Bucharest

Allborgarrätten will be part of the group exhibition PUCK (Sept 12 – Oct 12) at Dalles Hall/MNAC (The National Museum of Contemporary Art) i Bucharest, Romania. Jan Rydén will do a site-specific installation in the Dalles Hall Annex in central Bucharest. During the opening on September 12 Jan Rydén will also give a presentation of his ideas on the Right to the City as a Swedish Tradition.

Summer Art Stockholm

By invitation from Konstfrämjandet Jan Rydén on June 21 painted one of the pictograms from his book ”Allborgarrätten The Right to the City as a Swedish Tradition” on Swedenborgsgatan which is pedestrian during the summer. The pictogram chosen was ”Fristaden, Free City, Freistadt” which promotes the liberties associated with urban life as well as the idea of cities as places of refuge from prosecution. Simultaneously Rydén’s sound piece ”Allborgarrätten” can be heard by passers-by until the end of summer. He reads excerpts from the book. The painting was done in ephemeral material and will fade away completely during summer.

Konstfrämjandet has promoted art in Sweden since 1947.

Sommarkonst! Allborgarrätten på Swedenborgsgatan i sommar

Istället för en p-ruta. Som en performance målades den 21 juni piktogrammet ”Fristaden” från Allborgarrätten på Swedenborgsgatan. Målningen finns kvar under sommarens satsning på gågata men kommer sakta att nötas bort. ”Fristaden” är också titeln på ett kapitel i boken där de idén om fristaden belyses: Stad

en som plats för yttrandefrihet, kultur, annorlunda livsstilar, företagsamhet och förverkligande av annorlunda drömmar. Inbjudan kommer från  Konstfrämjandet som har lokaler intill. Samtidigt kan du varje dag höra utsnitt av ”Allborgarrätten” som ljudverk i Konsfrämjandets ”Ljud i porten”. Tack till alla på Konstfrämjandet och särskilt Per Hasselberg som hjälpte till att fotografera. Trevlig sommar i stan!

Allborgarrätten published

Finally my artist book ‘Allborgarrätten: The Right to the City as a Swedish Tradition’ is published.  Please note that the book is bilingual, English and Swedish in the same volume.


‘Allborgarrätten’ is a newly coined concept that promises to be the urban equivalent of the rural, traditional Swedish ‘allemansrätten’ – everyman’s right to roam freely in nature. The rural right is one most Swedes know by heart, even though they now live in cities.

Through the Nordic lens, Rydén explores themes like the right to the city, national identity and connects it to a larger global discourse. Along with this verbal exploration Jan Rydén has created a series of pictograms, a pictorial grammar of sorts, which follows its own poetic logic. The book is published in both English and Swedish.

Available at selected museum shops, or at,,