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Motoi Yamamoto

Artist 276

Motoi Yamamoto

Salt installation Art

the memory of lives

Motoi Yamamoto is a Japanese artist known for intricate Salt installations that often are temporary in form, intricate and large in scale.

He forged a connection to the substance while mourning the death of his sister, and began to create art out of salt in an effort to preserve his memories of her.

In an interview Motoi explains “... concept the mainspring of my work is derived from the death of my sister from brain cancer at the age of 24 in the winter of 1994. Since then, I have had the dilemma, in grief and surprise, of thinking about what I had and lost. I started making art works that reflected such feelings and continue it as if I were writing 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. a common perception towards them is ‘nearly reachable, yet not quite’ or ‘nearly conceivable, yet not quite’.

Memories seem to change and vanish as time goes by. However, what I sought for was the way in which I could touch a precious moment in my memories which cannot be attainable through pictures or writings. “

“There is no set motif in the patterns I draw,‘ Yamamoto explains, ‘but shapes and forms that can be found in nature such as typhoons, whirling tides, and galaxies are part of my work.”

He creates intricate netting on a mammoth scale by holding a bottle of salt in hand and by sitting in a small space where no particles will be laid, he simultaneously moving the container with a certain rhythm.

The subtle movement creates tiny cells that mimic bubble-like patterns, each of which symbolize pieces of memories and fragments of time.

Yamamoto explains, “Reasons for using salt salt seems to possess a close relation with human life beyond time and space. Moreover, especially in Japan, it is indispensable in the death culture. After my sister’s death, what I began to do in order to accept this reality was examine how death was dealt with in the present social realm. I posed several related themes for myself such as brain death or terminal medical care and picked related materials accordingly.

I then came to choose salt as a material for my work. This was when I started to focus on death customs in japan. 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. I have thus had a special feeling since I started using it as a material.”

At the end of each installation the artist urges his audience to remove the salt and the temporary nature of his work combined with the theme of memory and reflects in how we each leave with a different experience , a different grain of salt.

Sources Consulted


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