Exploring Salt As A Sustainable Material For Art

salt petals detail

Photo: www.motoi.biz

If you are an artist, chances are that you have gotten tired of chemical-based paints, thinners and other materials that may cause problems for the environment or your health. Some artists are exploring recycled stuff but that doesn't really solve the bigger problem, although it can produce striking results.

What if you want to use a pure substance that can be used again and again, in installation after installation? Motoi Yamamoto may have found just one such material: salt.

salt maze photo

Photo: www.motoi.biz

Born in Hiroshima in 1966, Yamamoto is a regular on Japan's art scene. This month, he displays his salt-based objects at the Radium gallery in Tokyo. But he often prefers to use traditional Japanese buildings, with their intricate wooden sliding doors and paper walls, and warm, natural colours. The effect from the patterns he draws in the white salt, is striking.

salt red rooms photo

Photo: www.motoi.biz

Yamamoto is interested in the interconnectedness of all living things and the fact that salt is something shared by all. For this reason, when his salt-works must be disassembled, he requests that the salt in his installation be returned to the ocean, and not thrown away in a landfill or other places where it could cause harm.

For Yamamoto, using salt has become a philosophical enquiry into the importance of this substance to life on the planet. He likes to think that the salt he uses might have been a life-sustaining substance for some creature.

Enjoy the slideshow of Yamamoto's larger installations on the Hamburg, Germany-based Mikiko Sato Gallery website. In 2007, Yamamoto also participated in the Tokyo Story exhibition in New York, that invited the viewer to see a fragment of Tokyo's past: "Ultimately, the show is a nostalgic resurrection of convention and tradition, rediscovered through the eyes of Japanese contemporary artists." Salt, of course, has been used in Japan since ancient times in religious rituals and even today, sumo wrestlers throw handfulls of sand into the ring before each wrestling game.

Force of Nature at the Sumter County Gallery in South Carolina gave Motoi a chance to spend several weeks installing over 5500 pounds of salt in the galleries, exploring "the fertile terrain of art and nature."

Written by Martin Frid at greenz.jp

Related Content on Treehugger.com