The collective exhibition ‘Collect yourself’ by the MFA graduates Show of the Royal Institute of Art is located in an old shopping venue in Sergelgatan. For this show, I propose an artwork to mark the occasion that pupils, from that same school where Sergel studied and taught, are exhibiting their artworks in the street which has been named after him.

Johan Tobias Sergel and his friends aims to both reflect on the time of Sergel, using contemporary perspectives, and engage the audience in a participatory way of encountering art in society. Bringing back the life and the artwork of Sergel, the Sweden's greatest sculptor.

Programme of Activities


    Thursday, May 26th

    PLACE: Sergelgatan 8
    TIME: 16:00

    Johan Tobias Sergel and his friends is a participatory artwork for collective exhibition by this year’s 22 MFA graduates of the Royal Institute of Art.

    At the Opening, the project will be presented in the exhibition space by introducing the drawings and the letter written for this project. Also, the project’s program features a wide of participatory activities, including a drawings workshop, visit to museums, walks.


    Friday, May 27th

    PLACE: Royal Institute of Art. Flaggmansvägen, 1. Skeppsholmen.
    TIME: 16:00

    Italy, where lived for eleven years. He spent several years advancing his artistic skills at the French Academy of Rome.

    This day, Istituto Universitario Salesiano of Venice will visit the Royal Institute of Art. But in this time, the artists are exploring the scope for expression offered by new technologies. The visit will focus in the digital media and interactive techniques. This multinational encounter will give the opportunity to the students to show their artworks and to create a dialogue between them.

    Donatella Bernardi, an Italian speaker professor at Royal Institute of Art, will do a short presentation of the school.

  • BARS

    Saturday, May 28th

    PLACE: Sergelgatan 8
    TIME: 18:00

    Sergel had a great capacity for making friends. One of the favorite activities of Sergel was to have fun with his friends drinking and eating in the bars of Stockholm. This event is a parallel relational activity to 'Collect Yourself' programme. It will start in the exhibition space where there will be "Food+Bar". After that, the activity will continue to follow the plans of the MFA graduates students.


    Saturday, May 28th

    PLACE: Sergelgatan 8
    TIME: 18:00

    Sergel was presented with the Academy's silver medal (1st class) for his work in modelling when he was student. His skill on sculpture was recognised early on and he received the accolade of Master of sculpture from Royal Institute of Art in 1763.

    As a tribute to his work, a modelling workshop by Maria Lundberg will be take place on the street. Using


    Monday, May 30th

    Kulturarbetarnas vilodag.

    Tradicionally, Monday is a resting day for art workers.


    Tuesday, May 31th

    PLACE: Sergelgatan 8
    TIME: 21:30

    A time-specific practice-based event with Mira Mutka, Maia Means, Oda Brekke, Max Wallmeier and Pavle Heidler for Johan Tobias Sergel and friends. Sergelathon evolves around relations between slowness, walking and a cosmological interest.

    This one-hour project will run during the sunset. As an aesthetics experience, the participant could to enjoy of light change on Sergelgatan. Warmly welcome to join by seeing or walking with in between one and sixty minutes: starting and stopping whenever during the hour.


    Wednesday, June 1st

    PLACE: Sergelgatan 8
    TIME: 16:45

    As an artist that spending time with the cultural elite, Sergel used to go to the Opera. In his time, a recently inaugurated building. It was built under the reign of Gustav III, friend and admirer of Sergel’s work. The same place where the king was shot by J.J.Anckarström at a masquerade Ball. He died 13 days later. Sergel felt ashamed and sad for the murder of the king.

    This event has two parts: a guided visit to the Opera building and an entrance for see “Madame Butterfly”.


    Thursday, June 2nd

    PLACE: Sergelgatan 8
    TIME: 11:00

    This event aims to see the sculptors of Sergel located in Stockholm and the places related to his life. During walking tour, audience could enjoy of Bronze memorial medallion of Bellman, Faun at Thielska Galleriet, Sergel’s grave and Gustav III’s sculpture, among others.

    Bringing food and drink is recommended.
    The walk will be 3 hours.
    Dogs are allowed.

    Map of the route:


    Friday, June 3rd

    PLACE: Konstakademien. Jakobsgatan 27C. At the Cafeteria
    TIME: 12:30

    Johan Tobias Sergel is Sweden's greatest sculptor. His talent was admired across Europe. His sculptural work can be seen in the main art museums: Musée du Louvre, Nationalmuseum, Museo del Prado, Metropolitan Museum of Art… Some of his drawings and sculptures are at Konstakademien (Swedish Academy of Art). Eva-Lena Bengtsson, responsible for its arcade, will present to the audience the drawings and sculptures by Sergel. He received national recognition for his work when was ennobled and appointed the first director of Sweden's Academy of Art in 1810.

    At the visit, she will show rooms are closed to the public in which the participants could to see paintings by Sergel’s friends like Elias Martin.


    Thursday, June 4th

    PLACE: Sergelgatan 8
    TIME: 16:00

    Carl Michael Bellman was one of the best Swedish popular poet of all times whose songs are often associated with the high-spirited social life of the Gustavian Age. He was a songwriter, composer and performer. His work remains a powerful influence in Swedish music, as well as in Scandinavian literature.

    This event aims to bring back the Bellman’s songs for the visitors of ‘Collect Yourself’. Live music by Cecilia Klingspor, Jonatan Krog….


    Sunday, June 5th

    PLACE / TIME: Private event

    Love Kjellsson, musician & artist, and Anja Hellström, adventurer & gardening engineer, invite to MFA graduates of the Royal Institute of Art to the sauna of Stockholm Dramatiska Högskola.

    A relational event related to the nature in all its forms. Participants could draw one another in a particular environment and naked-body situation.


    Monday, June 6th

    Kulturarbetarnas vilodag.

    Tradicionally, Monday is a resting day for art workers.


    Tuesday, June 7th

    PLACE / TIME: Private event

    By healthy problems and the increasingly fear growing old, Sergel’s drawings reflect his attitudes and feelings. They were made only for his private consumption. For this reason, he felt free to express his moods toward the physical afflictions and the tribulations of spiritu-melancholia. Art historians have compared these series of drawings with the ‘Caprichos’ by Goya.

    Nationalmuseum has both in its collection Goya’s drawings and Sergel’s latest works. Supported by Filippa Arrias, painting teacher at Royal Institute of Art, the purpose of this visit is to offer a possibility for the audience to do the comparison by themselves.


    Wednesday, June 8th

    PLACE: Konstakademien. Jakobsgatan 27C. At the Library.
    TIME: 10:00

    As Sergel wrote in one of his letters, he had two Masters in Rome: “the Antique and Nature herself”. Every morning, he spent more than four hours studying Classical art. Related to this fact, this events will let to the people to draw the Classical sculptures placed at Konstakademien.
    Many of them used by Sergel for teaching.


    Thursday, June 9th

    PLACE / TIME: Private event

    Through his time in Rome, Sergel formed a circle of friends with whom he made Sunday excursions to the Villa Madama, Villa Farnesina and other well-known places. There they copied the frescoes, while servants were sent for food, which was eaten in the park. Many of this Dionysian meetings ending with a bacchanals with young girls. They was immortalised by Sergel in hundred of drawings.

    In his honour, this event aims to engage people on an allegorical party.


    Friday, June 10th

    PLACE: Sergelgatan 8
    TIME: 18:00

    Boccia was the favorite game of Sergel when he stayed in Rome. It is a precision ball sport. In Sweden, the game is known as boules. Originated in the Mediterranean countries, It was recovered in 1970 by the Nordic countries in order to adapt to people with disabilities. Boccia is today a paralympic game since 1984.

    A public art intervention through creating of a playground on Sergelgatan and inviting the pedestrian to engage the play of Boccia.


    Saturday, June 11th

    PLACE: Sergelgatan 8
    TIME: 14:00

    Sergel was a genial sculptor but this project is more interested in Sergel as a draughtsman, a role he employed in his sketches of everyday life and ceremonious occasions. Sergel felt free to express his mood and to depict the routine life of his friends and the society in which he lived. He was like a photographer. He caught his friends off guard and therefore rendered their remarkable individuality. In fact, his drawings are an insight into the quotidian life and customs of the Gustavian Age.

    This workshop aims to depict the everyday life on Sergelgatan.


    Sunday, June 12th

    PLACE: Sergelgatan 8
    TIME: 18:00

    The farewell event on Sergelgatan. It will be in parallel to the Collect yourself activities as bar, performance by Greta and Studio StØk and guided tour with Senior Alien.

Johan Tobias Sergel and his friends

by Juanma González

For the colective MFA graduate Show of the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, the students have chosen to rent a shopping venue in Sergelgatan. Johan Tobias Sergel and his friends is an art project to mark the occasion of students from KTH, the same school where Sergel studied and taught, are exhibiting their artworks in a venue located in this street of Stockholm named after him.

Sergel is one of the biggest sculptors in Sweden. His artworks have been recognized by having his name on the most popular square of the city and on this street, one of the first example of pedestrian street in Europe.

Erasing the past by creating a new welfare Swedish society, this street was a result of an urban design plan that broke down a historical quartier in the 50s . Among the demolished buildings was Sergel's studio, the sculpture school of Royal Institute of Art in that time.

This tendency to forget the past is mirrored within the cultural scene. Few people know who Sergel was and what is his artistic legacy. He socialized with the high aristocracy and the cultural elite of his time. His sculptures can be admired in Musée du Louvre, Museo del Prado, Nationalmuseum, Metropolitan Museum of Art... On the personal, Sergel had a great capacity for making friends and maintained these connections for all his life. With support from his friends, Sergel overcome two deep depressions. This project aims to both reflect on the time and affective side of Sergel, using contemporary perspectives, and engage the audience in a celebration of art encounters in society.

A society where the majority of people live alienated from Contemporary Art because it is as elitist as it was in Sergel's time. The art production is focused on exclusive markets and employed by conservative institutions. Since the 1960s, artists have created situational pieces where all types of audiences engage with art, by allowing them to become a part of the creation. I believe in the social function of art as a binding element for a variety of communities coexisting in the same society. In a our currently world which is constantly in flux, art should flow at the same pace, and in the same space, as the cosmopolitan society.

As an artist, I perform as a ‘Cicerone’, to bring back to the people’s attention onto Sergel's figure. I plan to do this by creating relational situations and participatory activities during the show inspired by his life and his friends. These will include drawing workshops on Sergelgatan, a guided tour of his public art in Stockholm, visits to museums, collaborative projects for different educational institutions, relational gathering inspired by Sergel's Dionisian life, among other events. I will host a daily program in which I display Sergel's environment through his personal relationships, prompting a contemporary assessment of his time. For this project, I have wrote a text about Sergel in order to provide a widely accessible way for people to discover about the artist. At the exhibition space, I show this text as handwritten letter, the way of being online in his time, together with a seven copied portraits of Sergel’s friends by myself.

Johan Tobias Sergel and friends is not a nationalist glorification, but an exaltation of the art, and as such, something we all have to take part in. As a graduating student, I feel proud to have learnt art at the same school that Sergel studied and taught. This project is a tribute to him, and a framework to divulge the universality of art.

Juanma González

This is an art project for the collective exhibition 'Collect Yourself'
by Juanma González


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