The Internet is no stranger to dresses that go viral – and the latest viral phenomenon documents the dramatic transformation of a black dress that was submerged in the Dead Sea.
Israeli artist Sigalit Landau placed the early twentieth-century-style black gown in the waters of the Dead Sea for two months in 2014. Photographer Yotam From recorded the stunning underwater changes that occurred as salt crystals gradually adhered to the fabric.
The project has been thrust into the spotlight thanks to a series of large color prints showing the dress’s remarkable changes, which are on display at London's Marlborough Contemporary gallery through Sept. 3. The dress is a trending topic on Facebook.
A vast salt lake, the Dead Sea is nearly 10 times as salty as the ocean. The popular tourist site, which borders Israel, Jordan and Palestinian territory, has the lowest elevation on Earth, some 1,407 feet below sea level.
Landau’s ‘Salt Bride’ project used a replica of a costume worn by the female character Leah in the Yiddish play “The Dybbuk.” The play tells the story of a young bride possessed by an evil spirit and subsequently exorcised.
“In Landau’s Salt Bride series, Leah’s black garb is transformed underwater as salt crystals gradually adhere to the fabric,” explained Marlborough Contemporary, in a press release. “Over time, the sea’s alchemy transforms the plain garment from a symbol associated with death and madness into the wedding dress it was always intended to be.”
Fascinated by salt crystallization, Landau has made the Dead Sea a recurring theme in her work. “Over the years, I learnt more and more about this low and strange place,” she said, in the press release. “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.”
Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers