Sigalit Landau: Barbed Hula

"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." Sigalit Landau

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. "Landau's 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 its own right. 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 Landau's hands into a spectacle of desperate alertness vis-à-vis an invincible enemy. An art that constantly rewrites what may be dubbed in copywriter's 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.