Artist Creates Magnificent Labyrinths Made of Salt

Labyrinth© Yamamoto Motoi

We've written about the amazing work of Japanese artist Motoi Yamamoto before, and how his choice of medium, salt, is one of the most creative and sustainable art materials being used today. His work over the last few years has become more intricate, more controlled, and more beautiful than ever. Bringing to mind the sand mandalas painstakingly sprinkled by Tibetan monks, Yamamoto's creations, which take hundreds of hours to pour, are also ritually destroyed at the end of their creation and viewing. In a gesture of profound poetry, viewers help to scoop up the salt and return it to the sea, where it can begin its life anew.

He says of his work:

The mainspring of my work is derived from the death of my sister from brain cancer at the age of 24 in the winter of 1994. Since then, I have had the dilemma, in grief and surprise, of thinking about what I had and lost. I started making art works that reflected such feelings and continue it as if I were writing a diary. Many of my works take the form of labyrinths with complicated patterns, ruined and abandoned staircases or too narrow life-size tunnels, and all these works are made with salt.

Above: "Labyrinth" / 5 by 14 meters / Making Mends - Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue WA / March - May 2012

Labyrinth (Germany)© Stefan Worring

Labyrinth (Germany)© Stefan Worring

Above: "Labyrinth" / Salz / Kunst-Station St. Peter Cologne, Germany

Forest of Beyond© Makoto Morisawa

Above: "Forest of Beyond" / To the White Forest / The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Kanagawa, Japan / July 2011 - March 2012

Forest of this World© Makoto Morisawa

Above: "Forest of this World" / 17 by 9 meters / To the White Forest / The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Kanagawa, Japan / July 2011 - March 2012

Floating Garden© Motoi Yamamoto

Floating Garden© Motoi Yamamoto

Above: "Floating Garden" / Return to the Sea: Salt works by Motoi Yammoto / Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Charleston, SC / May - July 2012

Yamamoto's next exhibit will be in Los Angeles at the Laband Art Gallery. Viewers can visit the gallery August 29 - 31 and September 4 - 6, 2012 from 12:00 to 4:00 P.M. to see the work in progress. The completed installation will open on September 8th. Visit his website for more.

Artist Creates Magnificent Labyrinths Made of Salt
Motoi Yamamoto's salt labyrinths and intricate installations are as stunning as they are sustainable.

Related Content on