Obsessively Crafted Sculptures Made of Salt
Japanese artist Motoi Yamamoto's medium of choice is none other than your simple household table salt, fragile and completely ephemeral. Yamamoto creates beautiful installations with the medium, salt being a strong symbol in Japanese death culture (as well as several other cultures around the world: Hinduism, Catholicism, Egyptian and Aztec mythology).
Hi-Fructose interviews Yamamoto:
"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."