Sigalit Landau

DeadSee, 2005
Still da video / Video still
Courtesy the artist

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SIGALIT LANDAU (Israel, 1969)

Barbed Hula, 2000
Video, 1’52’’
Courtesy the artist and Galerie Anita Beckers, Frankfurt

DeadSee, 2005
Video, 11’39’’
Courtesy the artist

“A border is mainly and firstly a word that can be used in all directions—painful, essential, disastrous, sane, or hysterical. […] In a way, borders are the skin of places and also a rough skin to most ideas. Borders are our definitions. Borders are too thin. There is nothing to hold because we don’t see the other side of the border properly.” (Sigalit Landau)
In the video Barbed Hula, Landau transposes to her own body the political and historical tensions of her land, transforming her skin into a border, a transient and violable boundary like all others, which in fact fails to protect her from the pain inflicted by the sharp barbs of a modified hula hoop, transformed from a play thing into an instrument of torture.  The scene takes place on the beach south of Tel Aviv, and the presence of the sea – central to many of the artist’s works – also represents a border, since it forms one of the frontiers of the state of Israel, the only non-dangerous border of the country, as the artist notes, the one that needs no barbed wire.
The sea and the artist are also protagonists of DeadSee, in which the third subject of the scene is a spiral six meters in diameter formed by 500 watermelons strung together by 250 meters of cord, floating on the Dead Sea. On the surface of this basin of water with a high salt content, Landau is at first both protected and surrounded by the melons, inside a circle which is gradually unraveled. However, the use of melons, their color, their movement and their transformation by means of salt convey the idea of a paradox, that of the constant modification of substances and of the instability of things: the melon becomes flesh; salt preserves as much as it destroys. The artist’s body and the fruit are both deprived of external protection, and both are exposed to the salt water, as if salt was being spread over the real or metaphorical wounds of the bodies in question. The Dead Sea, center of other works by Landau, separates Israel from Jordan and, partly, from the Palestinian territories. Borders divide, yet cannot contain the movements of people who desire to go beyond them; and they themselves are modified with the modifying of the historical conditions that brought them about, as is clearly revealed by the Middle Eastern history and landscapes that nourish the Israeli artist’s imagination.

Sigalit Landau (1969, Israel; lives and works in Tel Aviv). She graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem in 1995, and after several years spent in London, she settled in Tel Aviv. Landau works with a diverse range of media—including drawing, sculpture, video and performance-creating works and installations which sometimes stand on their own and sometimes form complete, inclusive environments. Her complex works touch on a number of social, humanitarian and ecological issues, embracing topics such as homelessness, banishment, and the relationships between victim and victimizer and between decay and growth. As much of her work is concerned with the human condition, the figure (often her own) is a key motif.
Using salt, sugar, paper and ready-made objects, Landau creates large-scale on-site installations, totally transforming the spaces in which she works. Landau participated in the Venice Bienniale in 1997 and 2011; documenta X, Kassel, in 1997; the Armory Show, New York, in 2005; the ArtFocus International Contemporary Art Biennial, Tel Aviv (1994); Jerusalem (1996) and Herzliya (2005); the Video Zone International Biennial of Video Art in Herzliya in 2002 and Art TLV International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, in 2008 and 2009. She has received numerous awards, including the Ingeborg Bachman Scholarship established by Anselm Kiefer (1997); Artist-in-Residence at the Hoffmann Collection, Berlin (1999); the ArtAngel/Times Commission, London (2000); IASPIS Artist-in-residence, Stockholm (2003); the Nathan Gottesdiener Foundation Israeli Art Award, Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2004); the Beatrice S. Kolliner Award for a Young Israeli Artist; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem (2004) and the Sandel Family Foundation for Sculpture Award, Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2007).

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Con la grande mostra dedicata ad Ai Weiwei (23 settembre 2016-22 gennaio 2017) per la prima volta Palazzo Strozzi diventa uno spazio espositivo unitario che comprende facciata, Cortile, Piano Nobile e Strozzina.

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