Dead Sea, 2002
Mona Oren floats wax flowers on the Dead Sea in a perpetual motion.
The wax flowers, like the “salt flowers”, infuse life into the Dead Sea, so called due to the mistaken assumption that no life exists there. The vegetation of the Dead Sea region is being used today as the basis of research engaged in cracking the genome involved in survival and resilience in harsh conditions of salinity.
The modest and Sisyphean gesture of floating the flowers may be interpreted as a reference, in the most archetypal and universal manner, to the cycle of life, but also to the ideology held by her parents generation, of making the wilderness bloom, as well as to the artist’s own questions concerning her identity and the relationship to this place.
The Memory Of, 2009
On November 11th, 2009, I placed a sugar cabbage leaf in the Dead Sea, adding a bit of sugar into the Sea of salt.
The sugar leaf melted instantly, disappearing and leaving only the sweet taste behind.
A challenging time in my life, this road trip with my brother Asi and our friend Ido was a moment of pure happiness and freedom.
Sugar & Salt
Between surface and depth, the birth of liquid imaginary shapes.
Éclat is an immersive piece, including visual and sound.
Between hot and cold, white and transparent, darkness and light, the material shapes itself in enigmatic swirls.
The act of creation happens inside the water, like in the womb. I am behind the scene pouring the hot melted wax and observing its transformation.
Éclat is about the moment of contact.
Cocoons I & II, 2019
In 2019 and 2020, I traveled several times to the Dead Sea, to immerse my wax sculptures in the salt water. Crystallization became my subject of study, a particular flowering, the materialization of time.
Cocoon I and Cocoon II hanging from the raft in the open sea of the scientific teams of the Geological survey of Israel – Dead Sea Observatory.
Immersed for several weeks, the pieces were completely transformed; and I started collecting diamonds.
Diamonds and rust
The term Genus, borrowed from Latin, means “birth”, “origin”, “sort” or “type”.
In my work, it refers to the birth of the wax flowers I planted in the Dead Sea. These flowers bloomed for a very short time.
While most of the Genus flowers are planted forever in the Dead Sea, there are around fifty flowers that I preciously preserved and photographed as if they were diamond jewels.
Dead Sea ,2019
2019, my inspiration came from the landscape of an abandoned salt pool on the shores of the Dead Sea.
This pool, unlike any other, had signs of growth, with twigs and branches coming out of the salty ground.
The branches were dry and covered with a beautiful white crust of salt. The water was of pristine blue-green.
Looking up everything was burnt and dry. Looking down, it looked like an unreal moonscape, almost heavenly.
This was the perfect place for my secret garden.
Dead Sea, 2020
2020, the story was different. There were strong winds, it was rainy and cold. The landscape
changed, I was working in the open sea, on the boat of the scientific teams of the Geological survey of
From the deck of the boat I hung a series of branch-like sculptures made of rope, wax and metal string. They hung attached to the boat for about two weeks. When we came to pull them out, the weather conditions were difficult and we had to work very quickly. The pieces were so fragile, it was hard to breathe.
Against all odds, we managed to bring them safely to the Geological Institute in Jerusalem where they are kept in storage until today.
On April 23rd, 2019, I sowed hundreds of wax flowers under water, on the ground of the Dead Sea. I returned on site to document the process of salt crystallization on the wax flowers. Crystallized, the flowers were first covered with a thin film of salt, and then disappeared under the layers of salt deposited on the seafloor, to the point where they could barely be seen.
2021, the world undergoing the pandemic, time lapsed in a different manner.
My secret salt garden became a dream.
These are the traces of the journey.