»Celebration habits« (›Festvanor‹) and »Everyday Beauty« (›Vardagsskönhet«). Program and Self-expression of the Nordic Life Reform Movement
Kapitel i bok, 2016
In the nordic countries a wave of modernization, industrialization and urbanization comes up in the second half of the 19th century which catapults the hitherto backwards and rural countries on Europe’s periphery into the modern age. However, these great upheavals also plunge the countries in a deep social and cultural crisis resulting from an awareness of backwardness compared to the countries on the european continent as well as from the insight that a nostalgic nationalism that appeals back to a mythical past has become obsolete in the industrial age and is no longer sufficient as foundation for a cultural identity. In response to this crisis, a life reform movement emerges that is based on the arts & crafts movement as well as various artistic and literary reform movements and – equally absorbing rural traditions and progressive social ideas – tries to establish a new national everyday culture.
In this essay, the two key terms coined by Ellen Key, »celebration habits« (›festvanor‹) and »everyday beauty« (›vardagsskönhet«) – the programmatic core of the nordic life reform movement – are analysed and illustrated in various typical manifestations, such as the artists’ banquet or the celebration ritual. It also examines to what extent the nordic life reform movement with these two core terms finds an expression in painting, arts & crafts and architecture in the late 19th and early 20th century and fulfills its promise of social and cultural renewal.
Life reform movement