These incredible installations by Japanese artist Motoi Yamamoto will take your breath away — and for good reason, as every delicate line is made with tiny grains of salt, carefully placed and shaped on the floor into labyrinths, webs and stairs, with no means of anchoring them down.
Yamamoto started crafting the highly detailed salt sculptures after the passing of his sister, who was also one of the strongest supporters of his art. In Japanese custom, salt is associated with funeral rituals, and the installations were a way for Yamamoto to honor and remember his sister.
He brings to life a rather mundane spice — Morton's table salt, shipped in 50-pound bulk bags — by transforming the grains into large-scale leaves, forests, spirals and stairways, all spread across a floor. Using a plastic squeeze bottle to dispense the salt, Yamamoto shapes all the thin lines by hand, averaging about a hundred hours for each installation. Any unintentional disruption — perhaps a breeze from a passing footstep, or a windblown line from a closing door — remains a part of the art, as "mistakes can't be erased from life."
For lucky Angelenos, you can view these installations in person at Laband Art Gallery at Loyola Marymount University, now through December 8. The show is titled "Return to the Sea", and appropriately so. At the end of the exhibit, visitors are encouraged to sweep up the installations (literally!) and collect the grains to scatter into the sea.