Culture / Art Republik

Salt Installations by Motoi Yamamoto

Motoi Yamamoto creates intricate art installations using a traditional Japanese symbol

Feb 13, 2014 | By Staff Writer



Salt is a symbol in Japanese tradition that represents purity. Salt can be found at businesses, restaurants and offices, symbolizing the warding off of evil spirits and bad energy. It is often used in various rituals, prominently in the pouring of salt over the ground of a sumo-wrestling ring before a fight.

Japanese artist Motoi Yamamoto has created an art installation using this sacred substance. With this unique medium, he has carefully crafted clouds of salt on the ground, which he titles “Floating Garden”. Besides his recent installation in the MINT museum in North Carolina, Yamamoto has designed a series of intricate salt work installations. He constantly re-imagines and re-designs the details of his work every time it is exhibited.


The inspiration for his series came from his experience mourning over the death of his sister. When his sister died from brain cancer at 24, Yamamoto began to develop a connection with salt. To honor his sister and to hold on to his memory of her, he began creating these salt works. He also draws reference from the spiral and circular shapes in nature, which the artist portrays as reincarnation and the cycle of life. The whirlpool like pattern brings to mind a portal of some sort to another dimension, pulling its viewers in to a tranquil and comforting space.

This work is also interactive. Viewers in the exhibition are also invited to disfigure the works by wiping away the salt from the ground and “delivering the salt to the sea”.

Salt Installations By Motoi Yamamoto


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Learn more about Motoi Yamamoto here

Photos by James Martin and courtesy of Motoi Yamamoto. 

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