2014, Mino 7, Collage of drypoint 58 x 100
How would you describe what you were working on when you were awarded the Maria Bonnier Dahlin Scholarship and what did the scholarship mean to you?
I worked on several projects where I in different ways used copper printing as an artistic hub for doing paperwork and sculptures. The scholarship has helped me dive into and invest time and money in making more extensive artwork.
What discussions characterized the art scene at this time and what was particularly important you?
I am most interested in the discussion of an ongoing shift, or nuance, from one rather intellectual art ideal for a more physical, poetic and spiritual view of art, where bodily knowledge and intuitive depth in concrete materials or techniques do not necessarily need
is justified politically or educationally. It's nice that I no longer automatically need to feel old fashioned when working with dry needle.
What exhibitions, films and books were important to you and what did you listen to for music?
Exhibitions: Mamadou Cissé at the Bernhard Jordan Gallery in Paris, Gunilla Klingberg's work Parallel Area Variable at Malmö Konsthall and Vera Nilsson at Liljevalch Art Hall. Movies: The documentary Drone by Tonje Hessen Schei, the Chinese animated film King Markatta.
Books: All Carl Frode Tiller's books, The Swedish Tourist Association's Annual Journal 1927– 1953. Listening to great singers like Hope Masike in Monoswezi, Bryan Ferry and Fiona Apple.
If you would point out any person that you perceive as particularly influential in Swedish art at this time, who would it be and why?
Anna Odell, because she shows integrity, intelligence, through her way of acting in the public courage and unusual wisdom.
How would you describe the social and political climate that prevailed, and there were some questions or events that particularly affected your work?
There is much to be said about today's political climate, but I would like to mention something about it the debate about the so-called cultural man. When I met my Swedish boyfriend I thought it was a good when he nodded and agreed with my relatively moderate feminist expositions. All such conversations I had with Norwegian and other men had consisted of one quirky and tiring struggle to even make them want to understand what I meant. After a while, I found that the Swede did not fake, and then I noticed that most of the other Swedish men I met (usually cultural workers) had about the same relaxed and intelligent attitude to the theme. After the cultural debate, among other things, I have got the feeling that many Swedish women are not aware of the rare, precious strain of the type of man they have available. I cannot imagine that it exists anywhere else on earth except as individual copies. But what do I know - it must be Swedish women who have bred them, I just think they are very busy with the continued breeding work. Certainly, a calm, cool revolution is underway: one that is secure, strong, purposeful. Not so flirty, but still sexy, just like Swedish men. And like many Swedish products, this also will probably enter the world. Here, strictly speaking, there is a minimum of whining that representatives of the female gender are boring, ignorant, self-embracing, feminizing, over-ambitious, lame, lazy, and generally hardworking. This potent climate where you don't have to go around feeling like a threat to the right manhood has affected my work situation and my self-confidence. When I moved from Norway, artists were represented by important commercial galleries there to 80% men. Such tendencies are evident here as well, but I still think that in Swedish art life women take for themselves, and nice men welcome it. Thank you, you wonderful men who know how to free a woman! (PS. My husband says I'm exaggerating, but I don't, this is my honest experience.)
When you look back and compare art life now and then, what are the most eye-catching changes?
What are you working on today?
I work in similar processes as before, though in larger formats, and with one more
experimental and open-minded approach.
All works by Ellisif Hals
2014, Park Växter, Collage of drypoint 34,5 x 64,5
2014, Mino 7, Collage of drypoint 58 x 100
This is an excerpt from Samlade stipendiater!: 30 år med Maria Bonnier Dahlins stiftelse, by Niclas Östlind, (red.) (2016). Stockholm: Bonnier fakta.