The Dead Sea
Jade Small
Jade Small
December 23, 2023 ·  3 min read

Artist Leaves Dress In The Dead Sea For 3 Months And It Turns Into Glittering Salt Crystal Masterpiece

Ok, so who loves ghost stories? I know I do! There is nothing quite like an old tale of the supernatural. It gives us something to wonder about as we drift off to sleep. For who knows what dreams may come? This story is centered around the work of Sigalit Landau, an artist from Jerusalem, and her love for the Dead Sea region near her home. In 2014, she created a salt crystal dress by submerging a black 1920s era gown under the water of the Dead Sea. The project was part of a photo series that Landau created for the Marlborough Contemporary in London. She named it appropriately Salt Bride. It was originally inspired by the 1916 play The Dybbuk by S. Ansky. The play follows a young Hasidic woman engaged to marry into a prominent family, but the ghost of her dead lover possesses her. [1]

The dress is placed underwater and salt crystal starts to form over the surface.
Image: Marlborough Contemporary | Sigalit Landau

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The artist was inspired by a ghostly tale

It is a tale full of magic and melancholy that Landau has embodied with her work. The salt crystal gown was created from a replica of the dress worn in the stage production during the 1920s. Over the span of three months underwater, the gown was gradually covered in the beautiful salt crystals that the Dead Sea is famous for. The Dead Sea salt is world-famous for its supposed nourishing and healing properties, and Landau has used this in her work. The salt crystal transformation of the gown represents the ghostly supernatural force. As the dark fabric is adorned with crystals, it takes on a glistening, mystical character. Who would have thought that such a chilling story could inspire such beauty? Landau grew up looking out over the Dead Sea as a child, so it’s no wonder this unique part of the world fueled her imagination. [2]

Underwater the salt crystal formations cover the dress, creating a beautiful effect.
Image: Marlborough Contemporary | Sigalit Landau

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The salt crystal gown has been transformed

Over the 3-month period underwater, Landau returned several times to document the process of the salt crystal formation on the garment. The ghostly salt crystals slowly encrusted the gown, looking more haunting every time she visited. The final result gave the black dress a completely new appearance, like a pearl-colored wedding gown. Landau’s Salt Bride has a way of reminding us of the way that magic still exists in the journey of change. This is a powerful metaphor to remember, not only in art but in the way we appreciate the hidden mystique of the natural(and supernatural!) world. The process of photography also uses this transformative process when printing the images. So Landau made this a constant theme throughout her creative process. From the birth of the concept all the way to the final display of the work. It certainly leaves you with something to think about!

Landau described the region on the north banks of the Dead Sea as being “like meeting with a different time system, a different logic, another planet.” It was a place close to her heart that influenced her creativity later on. When the salt crystal dress emerged, she said it appeared “like snow, like sugar, like death’s embrace.” She tried to capture the spirit with the magic of salt crystal formations.

Sigalit Landau, My Modern Met
The work created with salt crystal dress on display at the Marlborough Contemporary gallery.
Image: Marlborough Contemporary | Sigalit Landau

The legend lives on

Through her bond with the Dead Sea region, Sigalit Landau has created a lasting reminder of the supernatural forces at work. Her inspiration has turned a tragic story of romance into something of lasting splendor and beauty, in the same way, that the gown was transformed into a glistening and ghostly wedding dress. The combination of the sea and spiritual world is something we all wonder about, so it’s great to learn that we aren’t alone.

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