Please welcome our guest blogger Ela Rogers to Haute Macabre! I’ve been following Ela for a bit on Instagram, and she recently posted a haunting image of this series. I contacted her shortly thereafter to see if she would contribute a piece about the project to Haute Macabre, and was so glad when she agreed. Please follow her on Instagram for more of her insights on art and her daily life.
Sigalit Landau is an Israeli artist inspired by the alchemy of the sea. As a child, her family would visit the salt-rich shores of the Dead Sea (a body of water nearly ten times the salt content of the ocean), not knowing just how much those waters would influence her future creative work.
Her most recent project titled, “Salt Bride”, Landau collaborated with nature by submerging a dress in the Dead Sea for a time period of two months during 2014. Photographer Yotam From captured the haunting underwater images. Her concept was inspired by the Yiddish play, “Dybbuk” by S. Ansky, written between 1913-1916. The replica costume garment–a jet black, early twentieth-century-style gown represents the story’s lead character, Leah. It is a tale, richly painted in sorcery and romance, of a young bride who becomes possessed by the spirit of her dead lover, and is consequently exorcised. The fabric, black as pitch and associated with death and darkness, is slowly transformed and becomes supernaturally cleansed by the water’s salinity, emerging from its temporary tomb–the purest of white, heavily caked in salt and glimmering crystals for its dramatic resurrection…a bridal gown it had always intended to become.
In Landau’s own alluring words about the progression, “It looks like snow, sugar, like death’s embrace”…”An anticipated yet uncontrolled organic process set in motion”.
At first sight of these ghostly images, I had an emotional response, seeing the dress stand beneath the surface, erect, as if under an enchanted spell…the arms and torso filled with rhythmic water, where flesh would be…submerged in silence, awaiting its recovery. I was then snared by the notion of being forgotten, and the parts of ourselves that feel abandoned during our journey in life and relationships…while visualizing this gown paused beneath the water, in the daylight, then in the dark. It makes you question, what have you left down in the dark waters that needs to be brought up and retrieved within yourself? I could relate to the symbolism of feeling locked into a situation to endure a process, and how one can feel tethered down, alone, and frightened of how long change will take. However, I can speak for myself, that sometimes, when we are forced down into those murky depths of darkness, we undergo our own most important work, our own salty metamorphosis, unseen from the surface. It mustn’t be rushed, for it is naturally organic, and if we are patient, it can lead to our inner most beauty.
The eight-part photo series of life-sized prints are on display at London’s Marlborough Contemporary gallery, through September 3rd.
Image credits: Sigalit Landau/Marlborough Contemporary
Photo of dress above water: Image via Matanya Tausig
Sigalit Landau’s website: http://www.sigalitlandau.com/