Astrid Sylwan is one of Sweden's most cherished abstract painters over the past 20 years. Since her graduation from Stockholm’s College of Arts, Crafts and Design, she has exhibited in art galleries and museums both within and outside of Sweden. She has made large-scale public artworks, among others in the new connection between commuter train and subway under Stockholm central station; works of art that are passed by hundreds of thousands of people each day. And she has been invited to do prestigious collaborations with companies like Marimekko and Absolut vodka. 

Today, she can look back on these hectic years with a certain calm.

– I feel a greater confidence in my art today. Earlier on, I was afraid that one day it might end, but today I know that my work changes with me. It is me.

– Perhaps one can compare each work of art to a page in a book, or even a paragraph in a book where the entire book is my whole oeuvre. When I'm in the middle of a chapter, I don't know what it's about, but when I look back at my paintings today, I can see where I was in life.

Portrait of artist Astrid Sylwan

In the studio in Nacka outside of Stockholm, there are finished paintings everywhere, hanging, leaning against the wall and lying on the floor. She works in series to explore something that feels exciting in painting – a color or shape. There is no purely illustrative element.

– I usually call myself a landscape painter, but that's only because I often start with a darker skeleton and then add layer upon layer. Then I paint until I recognize something, when the painting arouses something within me. It's impossible to predict, but when I’ve reached it, then I know. It's like I'm looking for a knowledge that I can only find by working my way there.

Astrid Sylwan holding Randas V

Astrid Sylwan has worked with fine art prints for a long time, usually in collaboration with Ateljé Larsen in Helsingborg, where she travels at irregular intervals to make new works.

– Printmaking has been and is a fantastic way to develop my way of working. When I get down to Helsingborg, everything I do is bad for the first 2-3 days, then I find the flow. I come away with completely new thoughts that I take back to the painting studio.

The Randas series of intaglio prints on a table in the studio of Astrid Sylwan

When Astrid Sylwan developed the new series, she was "obsessed" with fractals, i.e. a geometric pattern with structure in all scales; zooming into a fractal repeats the same pattern as zooming out.

– I am so fascinated by it; a form that awakens a form, something that both absorbs and expands and can be microscopic and gigantic at the same time.

She has named the prints Randas which translates to something like to begin or to dawn.

– I think of it as a dawn, an energy beginning to gain strength.

The title came after the works were finished, but the feeling was there all the time during the work.

– It fits so well at this time of year when winter is about to disappear and something new can take off.

Tubes of paint in the studio of Astrid Sylwan

About the prints
Randas I-IV
Edition 35
The prints are made at Ateljé Larsen in Helsingborg, one of the foremost printshops for intaglio printmaking in the Nordic region. Here, artists work side by side with skilled printers, who hand print each print after the artist has decided how the edition is to look. Read more about intaglio printing here

Read more about Astrid Sylwan here