The Davis Museum at Wellesley College presents Sigalit Landau: DeadSee, a hypnotically beautiful performance video, September 17 – December 21. This will be the first exhibition of the internationally renowned Israeli artist’s work in New England. On view in the Joan Levine Freedman ’57 and Richard I. Freedman Gallery, the exhibition is free and open to the general public. An opening reception will be held on Wednesday, September 17 from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Known for a performative art practice that explores the landscapes of Israel, Sigalit Landau works in video, installation, sculpture, and drawing. Her elegant video, DeadSee, embeds the artist’s nude body within a spiral of 500 floating watermelons, gradually unfurling in the buoyant waters of the Dead Sea. The piece reinscribes the representational tradition of “still life” with unexpected layers of reference and movement.

According to Lisa Fischman, Ruth Gordon Shapiro ’37 Director of the Davis, and curator of the exhibition, “Landau uses forms and sites that link the ancient and contemporary worlds; the spiral, the body, and the watermelon—with their allusions to antiquity—float in waters cited in the Bible and that today create common border among Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank. With the green skins and hot red interiors of the melon, the pale figure curled in their midst, and the brilliant cyan surface, Landau composes a refined study in formal contrasts. Yet she also creates an image of interdependence: both fruit and flesh are largely comprised of water, dynamic and organic, yet vulnerable in the harsh salinity of the sea.”

Presented with generous support from Wellesley College Friends of Art at the Davis.

Sigalit Landau was born in Jerusalem, Israel in 1969, and studied at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. During this time she also participated in a one-semester student exchange program at the Cooper Union School of Art and Design, New York. After several years in London, she settled in Tel Aviv, Israel, where she currently lives and works.

Landau works with a diverse range of media–including drawing, sculpture, video and performance–creating works and installations that sometimes stand on their own, and sometimes form immersive environments. Her complex work addresses social, humanitarian, and ecological issues, exploring topics such as homelessness, exile, and the relationships between victim and victimizer, between decay and growth. As Landau herself says, “my work is that of a bridge maker, looking for new and vital ways to connect the past with the future; the west to the east; the private with the collective; and the mundane, everyday object to the deepest epic narratives and mythologies.”

Landau represented Israel in the Venice International Art Biennial in 1997 and in 2011, and has participated in numerous international exhibitions, among them Documenta X, Kassel 1997, the Armory Show, New York, 2005 and at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2008. In 2014, in addition to Wellesley, she will exhibit in Rome, Barcelona, Liege, Toronto, Jerusalem and Venice.

All images: Sigalit Landau (b. 1969, Jerusalem, Israel), DeadSee, 2005, Video, loop, silent, Courtesy of the artist.