Israeli artist, Sigalit Landau, came up with an exceptionally creative idea to submerge a black dress into the Dead Sea. For 2 months the dress gradually underwent the process of salt crystallization in one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water. With a salinity of 35%, the Dead Sea is nearly 10 times saltier than an ocean. The dress beautifully turned from black to white, gaining a thick attachment of salt crystals, while keeping the original shape and detailing of the buttons and collar. The result is absolutely captivating, and its story only adds to the interesting nature of the piece.
The artistic endeavor was entitled Salt Bride and was inspired by S. Ansky’s 1916 play, Dybbuk. Before I provide a quick summary of the play, I should warn you that it is very eerie and creepy! So the play is a tale of a young woman whose true love has unexpectedly passed away before they could wed. Then many months later on the day of her wedding to another man, her body suddenly becomes possessed by her true love. Unable to wed the other man, an exorcism is performed and her body is no longer possessed. However, as soon as she wakens from her possession, she passes away and is reunited with her true love for eternity.
The dress used by Artist Sigalit Landau is a replica of the 1920's gown worn in the original dramatic play. The black dress is submerged into the Dead Sea, where virtually no species spare miniscule bacteria are able to survive…thus the name “Dead Sea.” Like the dress, the woman undergoes a sort of death process when she is possessed. After 2 months, when the dress is removed from the Dead Sea it has turned as white as a bridal gown. When the lady in the play is awoken from her possession, she willingly passes away so that she can be with her true love forever. While the content of the inspiration is rather strange and frightening; the connections and meanings behind the artist’s work, Salt Bride, is clever.
Personally, one of my favorite pastimes is making connections and discussing symbolism in films, books, and art. It makes everything so much more interesting to the audience when a story is like a puzzle, solved through the clues of symbolism. What’s so fun about themes and symbolism is how people will interpret it in different ways leading to fun and eye-opening conversations. Yes… I am a nerd :)
However even if you didn’t know the story behind the inspiration of the dress, one has to admit that it does indeed look fascinating and quite pretty! A natural piece of art in its own right.
A 2 Month Salt Crystallization Process
The Salt Bride Exhibition at the Marlborough Contemporary Art Gallery in London
Artist Sigalit Landeau
Photo Credits: Matanya Tausig, Shaxaf Haber, Sigalit Landeau, Marlborough Contemporary