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Artist submerges black dress in Dead Sea, salt turns it white

Salt crystals not only changed the color of the dress, but added hundreds of pounds to its weight.

Artist Sigalit Landau submerged a black dress in the waters of the Dead Sea, and it turned an eerie white.

Sigalit Landau in collaboration with Yotam From, courtesy of Marlborough Contemporary

When Israeli artist Sigalit Landau first submerged a dress in the waters of the Dead Sea in 2014, it was pure black. But over just three months, salt from the waters transformed it into an otherworldly bridal gown, glimmering with white salt crystals.

Landau and photographer Yotam From kept returning to document the dress' eerie metamorphosis. And due to the unusual characteristics of the Dead Sea, nothing about their project was easy.

"It was very hard to sink [the dress] and dive in the Dead Sea, where everything floats," Landau told Artsy. "The water is saturated with many materials apart from salt, and visibility is not easy to achieve. Yotam needed special equipment and weights of 70 kg (154 pounds) on his body in order to go down."

But it's worth the trouble for the stunning final appearance of the black-turned-white dress.

"It's a little bit tantalizing, the sea in general and the crystal specifically -- it's very beautiful, it looks like milk or snow," Landau told The New York Times last month. The salt added hundreds of pounds of weight to the dress, the Times reports.

Landau has created other salt-dipped sculptures, including lamps, shoes, a violin and a noose, all of which take on the same pale, crystallized appearance.

The gown itself is a copy of a traditional Hasidic dress worn in S. Ansky's 1916 play, "The Dybbuk," which tells the tale of a woman possessed by the spirit of her dead beloved. Photos of the work are on exhibit at London's Marlborough Contemporary through Sept. 3.