(Video link here.) There is something very moving about watching artist Motoi Yamamoto painstakingly make his intricate, lacelike installations out of salt…perhaps because they are at once so intricate and so ephemeral. We discovered that the ordinary material we all have on hand is, in Japanese culture, a traditional symbol for mourning and purification. And that Motoi Yamamoto started making his salt installations after his beloved sister died.
We didn’t have to actually know anything about Yamamoto’s work to feel the power and serenity emanating from his most elemental of practices: “exercises that are at once futile yet necessary to his healing“.
At the end of each work, the salt is returned back to the sea, often with the help of the people who have come to see his work, who participate in its dismantling and return to Nature.
A most wondrous way to mourn, and heal.