Friday, March 9, 2012

Motoi Yamamoto is a very patient man.

It was the death of Motoi Yamamoto's sister that led to his career in salt installations. Motoi had worked in a dockyard for much of his 22 years. But after his sister's untimely passing at the age of 24 due to brain cancer, he began thinking about what he had and lost, and prolifically producing art work much like a diary.

"Many of my works take the form of labyrinths with complicated patterns, ruined and abandoned staircases or too narrow life-size tunnels, and all these works are made with salt," he describes. "In Japan, [salt] is indispensable in the death culture... In the beginning, I was interested in the fact that salt is used in funerals or in its subtle transparency. But gradually, I came to a point where the salt in my work might have been a part of some creature and supported their lives. Now I believe that salt enfolds the memory of lives." 
 The patterns are meant to convey a sense of eternity. Yamamoto makes them by sprinkling salt on the floor with a plastic bottle used for machine oil. He starts at the back of an exhibit and slowly works his way forward, so as to avoid stepping on his creations. Some installations, like Yamamoto's current exhibition at the Fondation Espace Ecureuil in France, use upwards of 2,000 pounds of salt. That particular piece took over fifty hours to construct. {Read on} {Official page}