motoi yamamoto outlines complex labyrinths made of table salt
all images courtesy of motoi yamamoto





japanese artist motoi yamamoto has completed two monumental salt works in utah, encompassing the ground floors at westminster college and weber state univiversity. using his trademark medium, yamamoto has created new iterations of his ‘floating garden’ lacework, this time bound within the confines of a circular form. filling the shape are minutely interconnected lines of matter, linked to each other within the complex labyrinth. the swirling, hurricane-like pattern is used as a symbol in east asia, representing life and death, resurrection and rebirth and the displays of vitality. ‘there is no set motif in the patterns I draw‘ yamamoto explains, ‘but shapes and forms that can be found in nature such as typhoons, whirling tides, and galaxies are part of my work.’ creating such intricate netting on such a mammoth scale requires patience and practice. holding a bottle of salt in hand, the artist must sit down in a small space where no particles will be laid, simultaneously moving the container with a certain rhythm. the subtle movement creates tiny cells that mimic bubble-like patterns, each of which symbolize pieces of memories and fragments of time. 

motoi yamamoto outlines complex labrynths made of table salt
the artist carefully crafts a salt work

monumental in scale, the ground-bound installation fills the room

motoi yamamoto salt works
the finished composition resembles a typhoon-like spiral

motoi yamamoto salt works
a second installation at westminster college is comprised of a maze of salt filling a circular form

motoi yamamoto salt works
detail of the salt work’s tiny interconnected lines

motoi yamamoto salt works

motoi yamamoto salt works
from above, it seems inconceivable that the arrangement was not disturbed while the artist worked

motoi yamamoto salt works
the circle of salt, from above

motoi yamamoto salt works
viewed from the second level, the installation encompasses the floor at the university