Internationally renowned Japanese artist Motoi Yamamoto was in his early twenties when his sister died of brain cancer. She was 24-years-old. Yamamoto was left in a state of grief and shock as he tried to grapple with what he had lost. He kept a diary during that time, and has since decided to channel his feelings through his art.
Yamamoto has explored several themes relating to his sister’s death, including brain death and terminal medical care. Each time he chose to use materials that related accordingly. He first picked salt as medium when focusing on death customs in Japan, because salt has an important presence in Japanese culture. As Yamamoto explains on his website, this early project made him look at salt in a new light:
This is what led Yamaoto to his most recent, and arguably most staggering, work of his career: salt sculptures. By sprinkling vast amounts of the mineral from a small plastic bottle, Yamamoto makes monumental organic patterns and complex labyrinths of salt on the floor. When an exhibition ends, he sweeps his mandalas into containers to dispose them in the sea, illustrating the ephemeral cycle of life.
The installations, which take him hundreds of hours to create, range in subject and shape but they all tend to address the theme of eternity.
Yomamoto has recently completed his latest exhibition with two iterations of his series “Floral Spaces” in Utah, on the ground floors of Westminster College and Weber State University.