Israeli artist Sigalit Landau put a dress in the Dead Sea in 2014 to start her two year-long project ‘Salt Bride’.
Her latest project, an eight-part photo series called Salt Bride, represents a uniquely captivating collaboration with the mysticism inherent in the cherished lake’s chemistry. Landau submerged a black gown in its waters in 2014 and returned multiple times over the span of three months to capture its salinity-induced transformations, as glimmering crystals gradually conquered the dark fabric. To Landau, the dress soon appeared “like snow, like sugar, like death’s embrace”—poetic language to describe an effect that manifests as delicately magical, despite its earthly genesis.
The project is an eight-part photo series inspired by S. Ansky’s 1916 play titled Dybbuk. The play is about a young Hasidic woman who becomes possessed by the spirit of her dead lover, and Landau’s salt-encrusted gown is a replica of the one worn in the dramatic production of the 1920s.
Until September 3, 2016, the photographs are on display at London’s Marlborough Contemporary, but you can see a selection (and a glimpse of the dress’ creation) below.
Landau’s practice is deeply connected with the Dead Sea. The artist shot some of her most iconic videos in its water, and has been experimenting with the salt crystallization of objects for years. The Dead Sea – the lifeless, lowest place on earth, in which the dress was immersed in one state, and from which it was pulled out in a very different form – sets an anticipated yet uncontrolled organic process in motion.
Sigalit Landau (born in Jerusalem, 1969, lives and works in Tel Aviv) first represented Israel at the Venice Biennale in 1997 in a group show, followed by a solo presentation in the Israel national pavilion in 2011. She has featured in numerous exhibitions and museums, such as Documenta X in 1997, MoMA, New York in 2008 and a retrospective at Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) in 2014. Her work is found in many major collections, including MoMA and Centre Pompidou.