Salt Bride by Sigalit Landau
Salt Bride is the result of Israeli artist Sigalit Landau‘s months-long synthesis of sculpture, photography, and natural processes. A photo series, realized in collaboration with Yotam From, documents the transformation of a dress submerged in the salt-rich waters of the Dead Sea.
The traditional Hasidic garment is a replica of the costume worn by the female character Leah in the canonical Yiddish play, The Dybbuk, as portrayed by legendary actress Hanna Rovina for forty years with the Habima Theatre, first in Russia and then Israel.
Written by S. Ansky between 1913 and 1916, The Dybbuk tells the story of a young bride possessed by an evil spirit and subsequently exorcised. In Landau’s Salt Bride series, Leah’s black garb is transformed underwater as salt crystals gradually adhere to the fabric. Over time, the sea’s alchemy transforms the plain garment from a symbol associated with death and madness into the wedding dress it was always intended to be.
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.
Now on display as a series of eight color prints at Marlborough Contemporary in London.
Images courtesy of Sigalit Landau and Marlborough Contemporary, London. Photo: Studio Sigalit Landau