salt scultpure

salt sculpture by Motoi Yamamoto

 Following the death of his sister to brain cancer twelve years ago, Motoi Yamamoto adopted salt as his primary medium. In Japanese culture salt is not only a necessary element to sustain human life, but it is also a symbol of purification. He uses salt in loose form to create intricate labryinth pattern on the gallery floor or baked in brick form to construct large interior structures.

As with the labyrinths and innavigable passageways, Motoi views his installations as exercises which are at once futile yet necessary to his healing.

 - Marie Helene Sirois

Salt sculpture by Motoi Yamamoto that plays with concepts of shape.

According to the artist, “Drawing a labryinth with salt is like following a trace of my memory. Memories seem to change and vanish as time goes by. However, what I seek is the way in which I can touch a precious moment in my memories that cannot be attained through pictures or writings. I always silently follow the trace, that is controlled as well as uncontrolled from the start point after I have completed it. ” While working on these installations, Yamamoto says that he is only concerned with the “line,” and that the focus of his attention cannot waver from that. When asked about the lack of permanence of his works, the artist states “ It does not matter if the work lasts or does not last. I use salt. It lasts as long as it will.”

- Marie Helene Sirois

Salt sculptures by Motoi Yamamoto

Salt is a ubiquitous commodity, as it is found in all of the oceans of the world, and virtually all cultures use some variant of it in their diet. What began as an exploration of the practies of Japanese death culture and it use of salt has now become a more philosophical enquiry into the importance of this substance to life on the planet. He likes to think that the salt he uses might have been a life-sustaining substance for some creature. Yamamoto is interested in the interconnectedness of all living things and the fact that salt is something shared by all. For this reason, when his salt-works must be disassembled, he requests that the salt in his installation be returned to the ocean.

- Marie Helene Sirois