Wedding Dress Left In The Dead Sea For 2 Years Turns Into A Masterpiece

Diply 24 Aug 2016

Art doesn't have to be too difficult for anyone to understand. It might seem that way sometimes, but beauty is its own language. You don't need a fine arts degree to appreciate a masterpiece. That's what makes them masterpieces — all you have to do is look at it and you know you're seeing something special. Just like this delicate yet hard-crusted dress, a beautiful piece that could only have come from a particular place on Earth.

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Israeli artist Sigalit Landau has a fascination with salt.

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Specifically, she likes to work with one of the saltiest bodies of water on Earth, the Dead Sea, which she could see from her childhood home. For her latest project, Salt Bride, Sigalit went back to her roots and plunged a dress into the Dead Sea's famous waters and waited.

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It seems like an odd thing to do, but Sigalit was inspired by a 1916 play called The Dybbuk.

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The play tells the story of a young Hasidic woman who is engaged to be married into a well-to-do family but becomes possessed by the spirit of her dead lover.

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The dress re-creates one used in a production of the play in the 1920s.

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Sigalit closely followed the progress the dress made below the surface, returning every three months to see how the water's salt crystals clung to the fabric and slowly transformed a plain black garment into something more magical.

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It's a symbolic transformation, both of the character's journey and Sigalet's connection to this unique body of water.

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And it didn't turn out quite as Sigalit expected...

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It's telling that a project like this required the singular chemistry of the Dead Sea.

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Sigalet's relationship with the Dead Sea became a part of the Salt Bride project, too. “Over the years, I learned more and more about this low and strange place," she said in a statement. "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."

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So Sigalet had some idea what would happen when she put the dress in the sea, but the process was solely at the whim of nature. The results didn't disappoint.

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"It looks like snow, like sugar, like death’s embrace; solid tears, like a white surrender to fire and water combined," Sigalet described.

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As the salt crystals built up, the dress gained more weight than anybody foresaw.

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Taking the final product out of the water proved to be a troublesome task.

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But it's no less haunting for the trouble. 

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The dress and Sigalet's photographs of the progress have become part of the Salt Bride exhibition, on display at London's Marlborough Contemporary.

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