July 25, 2024
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What Happens If You Soak A Tutu in the Dead Sea?

Called the “Salt Sea” in Hebrew, and not really a sea at all but a lake, the Dead Sea is the lowest continental surface on Earth. People visit it for its healing powers and companies use its water for makeup and cleaning products.

But Israeli artist Sigalit Landau has been doing something different with the Dead Sea. For 15 years, she has been submerging everyday objects, from bikes to shoes in the salty lake, crystallizing them forever. Her team has dunked objects ranging from a tutu to a cello in the mineral-rich lake and documented their crystallizing transformation.

“Magical moments happen under the water, so my co-creator Yotam From followed the process through underwater photography,” Landau explained.

“Salt Years” is a newly published pictorial and prose book that salutes Landau’s unique artistic genre.

“Her art pieces are cultivated with salt crystals, like an oyster farm, using an organic process to transform mundane, everyday, usually useless artifacts into objects of mesmerizing, haunting beauty,” writes editor David Goss in his introduction.

Landau told ISRAEL21c that her jaunts to the Dead Sea began from a place of memory and vision.

As a child in 1970s Jerusalem, she and her family often took an hour’s drive down to the salty shores. As an artist, she saw amazing potential for expression.

“I was fascinated by the combination of the crystals’ formal beauty and the fact that I can come up with something like a postcard. My grandfather had a big shop where he used to sell postcards,” she explained.

“We put in about 10 objects, chosen from over 100 through trial and error,” she says. “I had some grand failures – some things were too big or too small.”

A black tutu was a big success. Landau also handmade crocheted baby booties and a tapestry challah cover to dip into the Dead Sea.

Pulled up from the water after a few weeks, the objects are encrusted in a way that simultaneously destroys their original purpose and preserves them as works of art.

By Abigail Klein Leichman/Israel21c

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