When tragedy happens, we look for something, anything, to hold on to. The ground underneath us has cruelly shifted and more than anything, we’re just trying to regain our balance. For most of us, free-falling into mourning is simply out of the question. What if we never got back up?
Motoi Yamamoto was in art school when he lost his younger sister to brain cancer. Studying oil painting at the time, there were any number of ways the young artist could have chosen to honor his sister’s passing and speak to the loss her absence had created. Painting her portrait in oils, for instance, could have provided him with a sense of closure. Most acts of creation, after all, typically contain a beginning period, a middle and an end. You make a piece and then move on.
But Yamamoto went in a completely different direction.
The former dockyard worker from Hiroshima who now makes his home in Kanazawa, Ishikawa (what’s typcailly referred to as the Sea of Japan) decided that instead of creating one enduring piece that could serve as metaphor for a love never-ending, he would construct a series of temporary installations meticulously fashioned from the painstakingly slow arrangement of so many grains of salt.
Each installation created to fit the parameters of the exhibit space.
And when an exhibit is over?
The arrangement is destroyed and the salt returned to the sea: a ritual in itself, giving tribute not to the never-ending quality of love, but rather, serving as a repeated reminder of the ephemeral nature of all things, even companionship, even love.
And Salt: an agent for healing grief.
Learn more about Motoi Yamamoto.