Motoi Yamamoto has been using salt in his sculptures, paintings and installations for 15 years after he experienced loss and grief. Salt is a symbol of life and wealth, but also a material used in several traditional rituals in Japan, with a meaning of purification. Through his practice, the artist wants to remember, and may be reach again the soul of his deceased sister. He says:
“The thought that I won’t see somebody again, even if I wished for it, led me to want to see something that cannot be recorded by writing or photographs; something at the nucleus of my memory. Perhaps salt supported our lives in the distant past ? Perhaps contained in salt is the memory of life itself ? I make my work with the feeling that may be at the end of the maze I’ll be able to meet somebody that I can’t meet under other circumstances”
Each installation is a performance as the artist merges physically with this fragile material, working in situ for hours, drawing with a stencil or building walls with harden salt bricks.
Very dense at the beginning, they became looser with the time as the artist integrated other emotions and influences than his grief. The Labyrinth, a symbol of loss of the self, is the most recurrent in his work.
Yamamoto’s salt installations are affected by humidity and may evolve with time. They are an invitation to meditation and remembrance.