Sigalit Landau. Day Done (from Cycle Spun, 2007). 2007. Video (color, sound), 17:23 min. The Museum of Modern Art. Fund for the Twenty-First Century. © 2008 Sigalit Landau

Cycle Spun (2007) comprises three discrete video loops by Sigalit Landau (b. 1969). Functioning together as a trilogy and a triptych of moving images, the videos each depict a performative act of spinning, or circular motion, against a landscape backdrop in Landau’s native Israel.

In the wall-sized projection DeadSee (2005), a cord connects five hundred watermelons, creating a six-meter, spiral-shaped raft on the salt-saturated waters of the Dead Sea. Secured within this sculptural configuration, the artist floats with an arm outstretched toward a collection of “wounded” fruits, their intensely red flesh revealed. The nautilus form gradually unfurls, leaving the surface of the water a nearly monochromatic azure and the artist’s body exposed.

Centrifugal force moves a ring of barbed wire in seemingly endless revolutions around Landau’s bare torso in Barbed Hula (2000). In each cycle, the barbs graze the flesh, compromising the integrity of the body. Enacted at sunrise on the Mediterranean coast, her methodical body movements resonate with the rhythm of the waves in a nearly ritualistic repetition.

Day Done (2007) reinterprets an ancient Jewish custom in which an isolated area of a newly built house is intentionally left unpainted or unfinished to symbolize the remembrance of destruction. The video documents an inverse gesture—the painting of a circle around a window from inside the house, marking it first with a black stain and then, as night falls, tracing over it in white.

In addition to the self-illuminated images of Cycle Spun, the gallery is lit by Barbed Salt Lamps (2007), a cluster of barbed-wire objects that hovers like a cloud of chandeliers overhead. These handcrafted relics have been repeatedly submerged in the Dead Sea and dried in the desert sun, resulting in a multilayered, crystalline glaze through which they permeate the space with a frosted glow.

The exhibition is organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator, Department of Media.

The Elaine Dannheisser Projects Series is made possible in part by The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art and the JA Endowment Committee. 

Additional funding for this exhibition is provided by artist.

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