motoi yamamoto sculpts an intricate sea of salt inside a traditional japanese home
 
motoi yamamoto sculpts an intricate sea of salt inside a traditional japanese home motoi yamamoto sculpts an intricate sea of salt inside a traditional japanese home
oct 12, 2016

motoi yamamoto sculpts an intricate sea of salt inside a traditional japanese home

 

japanese artist motoi yamamoto has blanketed the second storey floor of a house with a vast and intricate pattern of salt as part of the 2016 setouchi triennale. the installation is located on the island of takamijima — one of 14 taking part in the art festival.

motoi yamamoto setouchi triennale floating garden japan designboom
the installation is located on the island of takamijima, one of 14 islands participating in the triennale

 

 

the seto inland sea, often referred to as ‘setouchi’ in japanese, lies between three of the four major islands of japan and is populated by a large number of smaller islands and inlets. historically, the sea was of great importance as a trade route in the area and served as a transport link to the various industrial centers in the kansai region. over time, each island of the sea developed an individual identity that was both influenced by and isolated from the constant movement of goods and people through the area.

motoi yamamoto setouchi triennale floating garden japan designboom
salt is an element traditionally used in japanese rites of death

 

 

defined by its placid waters, mild climate and stunning natural environments, setouchi has long been taken advantage of for its pristine natural charm and strategic trading position. this became especially apparent during the economic boom of the 1960s when the effects of rapid industrial growth took a heavy toll on the region in the form of cultural and environmental decline.

motoi yamamoto setouchi triennale floating garden japan designboom
the region has suffered from severe environmental implications as a result of rapid industrialization

 

 

the setouchi triennale is part of a wider initiative to revitalize the cultural core of the region by presenting a variety of installations and art events across the islands, inspired by and responding to their individual and shared histories alike.

 

for his contribution to the autumn iteration of the festival, motoi yamamoto continues his work in unthinkably intricate salt interventions. covering the second floor of a traditional family home on takamijima with incredible churning lacework, yamamoto’s ongoing ‘floating garden’ piece is reminiscent of tidal currents or the swirling surface of the sea. the artist creates the installation over many painstaking hours, rhythmically pouring salt in a specific pattern that mimics the bubbles and movements of the ocean surface.

motoi yamamoto setouchi triennale floating garden japan designboom
‘floating garden’ piece is reminiscent of tidal currents or the swirling surface of the sea

 

 

yamamoto engages directly with the environmental impact of the industrial boom on setouchi — not only does the salt appear like scum on the ocean waves, it is a common element used in traditional japanese death rites. simultaneously, the spiraling patten of the salt represents spiritual rebirth and eternity. by literally bringing the seto sea into the house of a local, yamamoto reminds visitors just how dependent we are on the natural world. the water surrounds the various mundane belongings of the house’s owner — books, a record player, picture frames — appealing to the onlookers sense of responsibility to the sea. on the final day of the festival, the artist plans to destroy the exhibition with the help of festival attendees, returning the salt to the nearby water.

motoi yamamoto setouchi triennale floating garden japan designboom
the ripple are almost unthinkably intricate, and creating over the course of many hours

motoi yamamoto setouchi triennale floating garden japan designboom
the piece is created by slowly pouring salt from a container

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