Sigalit Landau (1969) is a visual artist born in Jerusalem and living in Tel Aviv. She is a widely recognized artist with numerous international appearances, including her participation in documenta X in Kassel and her representation of Israel at the Venice Biennale on two occasions. Her videos, sculptures and installations – as well as works that combine these media – are made with various techniques and draw on traditional symbols: the water, the sand, the watermelons, the sugar, and the salt – with its simultaneously preserving and corrosive properties – featured in these artworks all convey the paradoxical nature of human existence. Circles and cyclicity are recurring motifs in Landau’s work. She poses philosophical or political questions, which are always articulated in a poetic format: in her art, the clothes tossed around in the washing machine, the falling olives, the red flesh of the watermelons bursting open from the salt in the sea become metaphors for the human condition.
This exhibition is Sigalit Landau’s first solo appearance in Hungary. It features the artist’s latest video works, complemented by earlier video installations. The videos entitled Mesik and Four Entered the Grove (2012) present an olive harvest performed by men, where the row of machines attached to the trees also evokes the great topic of the human exploitation of nature. In the work entitled Window, the spinning drum of a washing machine is seen, showing lifeless objects as they tumble about at the mercy of the circular motion. The noise produced by the machine is reminiscent of rhythmic pounding. The interactions and opposing forces of the living and the inanimate, the world of objects and the environment, are thus represented in Landau’s work. The circle also serves as the basic motif in the video entitled Three Man Hula. In DeadSee, shot from bird’s eye view, the artist’s naked body is seen within a gigantic spiral shape created by strung-together watermelons, reminiscent of Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. The video diptychs entitled Working Title WM (2010), which portray the work of men harvesting watermelons, present– similarly to the 2012 work – a real, while also culturally loaded, situation. The shifting camera positions, the sequence of frames and the sound effects, however, attest to the power and meaning-generating force of aesthetic vision.