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"Barbed Hula" (2000)
Hoff Collection, Oslo


31.10. - 07.12.08

Curated by Malin Barth

This act of desensitization - spining a hula* of barbed wire - was performed at sunrise on a southern beach of Tel-Aviv, where fishermen and elder exercisers come to start their day. This beach is the only calm and natural border Israel has. Danger is generated from history into life and culture. In this video loop I am demonstrating my own belly dance. This is a personal and senso-political act concerning invisible, sub-skin borders, surrounding the body actively and endlessly. All my work relates, in one way or another, to a loss of orientation. This media uses two dimensions (screen or photo). They are annoyed here by the centrifugal movement occuring upon the 3rd dimension. The pain here is escaped by speeding it up. The velocity is the shield of the dancer, but not the viewer who recognizes pain even if careful observasion in slowed motion shows that the spikes of the barbed wire are turned outwards.

* Centrifugal movement inside a hoop is a game that has been practiced by children and adults throughout history in many civilizations, ancient and modem. The reinvention of the hula hoop in plastic, named after the Hawaiian hip rotating dance, took place in 1957, in California This fashion became the model of “the fad” (at the peak of this craze, 20,000 hula hoops were made and sold internationally every day, boosting the developing plastic industry). In the USSR selling and dancing the hula hoop was banned for being a symbol of Americanism and in Japan hula hooping was forbidden for being too seductive/sexual.
Program content and photography © 2005 Sigalit Landau. All rights reserved


"The seashore is the only calm and natural border Israel has. This belly dance is a personal and senso-political act concerning invisible sub-skin borders, surrounding the body and identity actively and endlessly."

A naked dancer performs on the beach with a symbolic barbed wire hula hoop, a provocative act which, despite the barbs pointing outwards, places the onlooker in the uncomfortable position of witness to a self-inflicted pleasure/pain experience. Landaus art is possessed by the terminal, namely the theme of death, namely the anxiety of death, namely the lack of choice, namely anything that enables anything but choosing. There is no Landau video that has not been spawned from abiding by the principle structure of the loop - a measured eternity in rationed doses. As in many of her sculptural works, Landau chooses to drag the perishable, that which goes to waste, into an endless loop of reconstruction, recycycling and rebirth. One may see how she charges the cyclical movement, time and again, with meaning and the traces of content. Thus, the rotation, the loop, is also a propelling kick-starting principle, both the cause for the effect and a literary image in it. Similarly, the principle is magically materialised in barbed hula, hula men, in a watermelon spiral, a water pump recycling, or a whirling cotton candy machine. A cyclical movement usually appears meaningless - a movement that turns around its axis and thus always remains in place unlike linear progression, whereas Landau creates these centrifugal arenas as a rebellion which remembers the pointlessness that death, the terminal can introduce against the attempt to generate meaning. Yielding to centrifugal thought - maximum energy employed to remain in the same place - transforms under Landaus hands into a spectacle of desperate alertness vis-a-vis an invincible enemy. An art that constantly rewrites what may be dubbed in copywriters lingo the centrifuge of death.

Excerpt from Doron Rabina, Sigalit Landau, in Ellen Ginton ed., Dreaming Art Dreaming Reality, Nathan Gottesdiener Foundation, The Israeli Art Prize: The First Decade, exh. cat., Tel Aviv Museum of Art, April 29 2005, pp. 151 153.

Sigalit Landau (b. 1969) is an Israeli sculptor, video and installation artist. Sigalit Landau was born and raised in Jerusalem and spent several years in the US and the UK. Her brother is the artist Daniel Landau. She employs performance, installations, objects, and films to examine philosophical and political questions rooted in her homeland. Her work can be both challenging and poetic. Her work is perhaps best summed up in the following description: "Sigalit Landau has been scratching the surfaces for over two decades. But the bruises are still open; the pain doesn't seem to ease. She spreads salt crystals on open injuries, blends them in sugar, covers them in papier-mâché, immerses them in the dead sea. But their bloody presence is always here."

Landau has shown extensively at venues and fairs including the Tel Aviv Museum, Israel; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; PS1 MoMA, New York, NY; the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, NY; the Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan; Documenta X; and the 1997 Venice Biennale. She has had recent solo exhibitions at Kunstwerke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY.



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