SALT-CRYSTAL BRIDAL GOWN , 2014
Color print, 163 × 109 cm
In this work, I submerged a Hassidic dress made of black fabric in the waters of the Dead Sea. To drench the dress in the saline lake collaborating artist Yotam From and I used ropes and weights in order to oppose the natural resistance of the water’s high salinity which makes objects float. Submerged underwater, the black dress was coated with salt crystals; its color gradually changed to white as it turned into a solid, crystalline bridal gown. Eight photographs following this process were taken throughout the period of several months. The measurements of the images are congruent with those of the dress, illustrating the stages of the object’s crystallization and gradual transformation.
The dress I used for this work was a replica of a gown worn by Leah, the heroine of
“The Dybbuk” play. The legendary Israeli actress Hanna Rovina played the role of Leah
for the four decades that the play was staged by the Habima Theater. In the play, Leah donned the black dress as the spirit of her dead groom entered her body and took over her soul.
Through the lens of From’s camera, the sunken black dress is seen as it is transformed by the white salt crystals of the sea into a negative image reclaimed and repossessed.
The act of drenching the black gown in the waters of the Dead Sea has a ritualistic, performative and ceremonial value. It also represents a contemporary effort to exorcise the dybbuk (i.e, malicious, possessed spirit) — a symbol of the loss of control over both body and soul. Uncontrollable events occur when the black wedding gown is submerged; the sculpting process takes place in nature without human influence or intervention.