In 2014, artist Sigalit Landau dropped a black dress into the Dead Sea. Not by accident.
Two years later, when she pulled it out, it had transformed. The black dress was now a glittering, snowy white. Two years in the most saline natural waters of the planet had encrusted it in crystal. It is breathtaking. But is it art?
Globules of salt crystals cling to the strings holding the dress to the frame, making them seem like strings of pearls. The dress itself is different. Heavier, fuller, creased like fabric but sculpted like no human hand can sculpt. But to me, that’s not why it’s art.
Two years. Submerged, lost in the green waters. Still as death, as millimeter by millimeter, the sea painted on it with its own colours. For two years, the sun would rise and set, nations would declare wars, death would come to so many and life would come to others. But for two years, all that would happen here would be a transformation. Dipped in death and stillness, it would come out, perhaps more beautiful to some, perhaps less to others, but transformed.
Maybe art is not a salt-encrusted dress. Maybe art is what you feel when you think of how it got to be that way.