Japanese installation artist Motoi Yamamoto has made a name for himself on the international art scene by crafting gigantic, intricately detailed works from an original medium: salt.
Yamamoto's installations can take weeks to prepare and are often "poured" from a vessel resembling a ketchup dispenser. Each piece is painstakingly worked to replicate a predesigned ephemeral pattern that will often spread over multiple rooms.
This video shows how Yamamoto went about creating "Labyrinth," which you see the finished product of in the gallery below.
Salt has specific meanings to Japanese culture where it is sprinkled by Sumo wrestlers to "purify" the ring as part of Shinto tradition, and mourners are often sprinkled with salt after leaving a funeral in order to ward off evil.
The ubiquitous material (Yamamoto often uses regular Morton's table salt BTW) is necessary for all life to exist, and yet the individual molecules are never owned, but shared between all creatures as it is transferred via the processes of life and death. The works themselves are even temporary. Members of the local community are invited to help sweep up the installation and then pour it back into the sea in one grand ceremony.
As Yamamoto told NPR "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."
His current exhibition will be available to the public at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, South Carolina through July 7th.
Via Motoi Yamamoto