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."