In yesterday's post we looked at tailoring details from historical costumes that have been adopted in modern collections. Yet there are different ways to maybe employ the past to create something more original and symbolic for the future.
The project consists in eight life-size pictures taken by photographer Yotam From of a costume, a traditional Hasidic garment, that Landau left submerged in the salt-rich waters of the Dead Sea for a couple of months in 2014.
The dress was photographed in different stages that clearly show it turning from just a piece of fabric into a magic sculpture of crystals. The transformation is fascinating and the symbolic meaning very intriguing: the costume is indeed a replica of the dress donned by the female character Leah (as portrayed by actress Hanna Rovina for forty years with the Habima Theatre, first in Russia and then Israel) in the canonical Yiddish play, The Dybbuk.
Written by S. Ansky between 1913 and 1916, the play told the story of a young bride possessed by the evil spirit (the Dybbuk in Jewish folklore) of her dead beloved, and subsequently exorcised.
At the end of the process the black dress turned from a plain garment and a depressing symbol of madness into an ethereal wedding gown worthy of an ice queen. Landau also created "Small Salt Bride" - a bridesmaid dress - as a separate sculpture, though this piece is not included in the display at Marlborough Contemporary.
This is not the first time Landau has worked with the Dead Sea, one of the saltiest water bodies in the world (it is almost 10 times as salty as the ocean): the artist grew up on a hill that overlooks both the Judean desert and the northern part of the Dead Sea that she has used in one of her most iconic videos that shows her floating in the water with an unraveling string of 500 watermelons. In more recent years Landau experimented with the salt crystallization of objects.
In 2011 she was featured in the Israeli Pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale with an installation revolving around three main themes that fascinate her - water, soil and salt (we mentioned ths installation in a previous post in connection with fashion – a link that now Landau seems to have established via this project).
One of the films for the Israeli Pavilion showed salt crystal shoes on a frozen lake in Gdansk and the pavilion included an installation of a net-like material covered in salt that accompanied a video of a meeting concerning the building of a salt bridge to connect the Jordanian and Israeli sides of the Dead Sea.
"Over the years, I learnt more and more about this low and strange place," Landau stated in a press release about her "Salt Bride" project, "Still the magic is there waiting for us: new experiments, ideas and understandings. It is like meeting with a different time system, a different logic, another planet. It looks like snow, like sugar, like death's embrace; solid tears, like a white surrender to fire and water combined."
Image credits for this post
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