Sigalit Landau’s Salt Sculptures Are Where The Dead Sea Comes To Life


Israeli sculptor Sigalit Landau’s extraordinary practice has deep ties with the dead sea. While the Salt sea’s hypersalinity renders it uninhabitable for any form of aquatic life, Landau’s art of crystallized sculpture uses this very trait to arrive at her masterpieces.

This is how the idea struck the artist

Sigalit Landau's Salt Sculptures Are Where The Dead Sea Comes To Life

Langau has been visiting the Dead Sea frequently since her early childhood, but she embarked on her journey after noticing the crystal formations along its shores that “happen spontaneously”.

The way of Landau

Sigalit Landau's Salt Sculptures Are Where The Dead Sea Comes To Life
Wikimedia Commons / Yann Caradec 

Before submerging the object in the dead sea, the artist and her team make sure to secure it with metal frames, weights and strong wires. Even in weather as extremely hot as 46 degrees Celsius, the team takes no break. They would wear hats and long sleeves to protect themselves and continue working. The articles are soaked in the Dead Sea for a duration depending on their texture, their shape, and the climate. When crystallized to perfection, they are taken out using cranes and hooks.

Which objects does the artist choose, and what is the inspiration behind them?

Sigalit Landau's Salt Sculptures Are Where The Dead Sea Comes To Life
Wikimedia Commons – 1969 – The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

The chosen objects can be divided into two categories- (i) based on their shape, and (ii) based on their nostalgic significance. Most of the objects that get submerged are things of everyday life and significance(like ballet dresses, tutu, shoes, musical instruments, etc), getting crystallized as history.

Why is Sigalit Landau being considered one of our most important contemporary artists?

Sigalit Landau's Salt Sculptures Are Where The Dead Sea Comes To Life
Wikimedia Commons – Amit Herman

Sigalit Landau’s salt sculptures represent not the objects themselves, but lose their identity and take on another dimension. The emotions that these pieces represent are heightened by the crystallization process, as though “frozen”; the transience evolving to crystallized permanence. In this “kept” state, the sculptures become larger than themselves and depict contemporary issues like female identity, the horrid of the holocaust, economic exploitation and more, hence being considered contemporary representatives.

Here is the crystallized sculpture that took the world of art with a storm

Sigalit Landau's Salt Sculptures Are Where The Dead Sea Comes To Life
Wikimedia Commons – Studio Sigalit Landau

Landau and team submerged a black gown in the Salt Sea, and what came out is history. The beautiful black gown slowly started hosting salt crystals on its surface, and gradually turned into a sparkling white crystallised gown that looked like a snow-fairytale.

A more recent project involves a ballerina’s tutu, the crystallization turning the clothing into a sculpture no less than 400lbs!

Those wanting an inside glimpse on sigalit landau’s salt sculptures, her journey with salt sculpting and her inspiration can find more about her in her book ‘Salt Years’.

If you liked reading this, you will love: This Artist Makes Sunburn Look Artsy!


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