Motoi Yamamoto is a Japanese artist, born in Hiroshima. Yamamoto is best known for his salt installations, which he views as meditations on impermanence: the impermanence of his sister's life; the impermanence of his memories of her. 

His work has been featured at galleries worldwide. He recently completed a residency at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, North Carolina, where he invited audiences to dismantle his salt installation on July 7th, 2012 and disperse the salt in the ocean.


“I use salt because in Japan salt is used at funerals. My sister passed away from brain cancer 17 years ago. In order to overcome her death, I made pieces by picking up each event one by one, related to the theme that a person is going to die. The history of salt in Japan, how we use it, and the meaning of it, were all very suitable to my concepts.”


"I would say my work is not an action to preserve a memory, but rather a way to try and recall all the memories as much as I can."


"The swirl is circling in and circling out (going into a circle and coming out from a circle) and the moment when the spiral meets both in and out, is the time of rebirth.  A swirl is also assembled using many bubble type circles, like lace. I want to spin all of these smaller bubbles into one larger piece.  In this context, each circle resembles a small or trivial but important memory with my sister."


"My work, when I finish making a piece, becomes not my own in a sense.  The salt itself that I use is a natural substance that is still in a big circulation of the Earth, in the same manner as the salt in the ocean or salt in our bodies.  I am happy to see if people imagine or think about these ideas when they touch the salt of my works."


"I think the reactions of the audience to my work in both the West and East have more similarities than differences."


“What I seek is to capture a frozen moment that cannot be attained through pictures or writings. What I look for at the end of the act of drawing could be a feeling of touching a precious memory.”

Artist Page

Via Daily Serving and Burnaway.



(with assitance from Jordan Katz and Jorja Hudson)

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