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Art Watch : Motoi Yamamoto

Motoi Yamamoto is our Art Watch Artist for today. This section is brought to you by Art From Us and Divvya Nirula. The Artists we spotlight here can be from any field, across any discipline, and using a variety of media. We share here why we think they are important and worth – watching. Be it genius creators of eras gone by or the upcoming contemporary artist who is yet to have their first show. All come under the purview of Art Watch. 


Why Motoi Yamamoto

Motoi Yamamoto is no ordinary artist. Would you believe me if I told you that this Japanese Artist doesn’t use paints? Nor does he use chisel and hammer, but salt as his medium! Internationally known – Motoi Yamamoto uses salt to create large-scale installations. They are often temporary. As an Indian, when I see artists use salt – I immediately think of colonial oppression. More specifically, the Dandi Salt March, led by Mahatma Gandhi. There is an inherent gravitas and sacredness to salt.

For artist Motoi Yamamoto salt embodies loss and reconnection. When he lost his sister to brain cancer the artist went on an internal investigation of self. And whilst he was in this journey of tracing his memories and the idea of memorialising those we love. He turned to the most basic and essential components of life here on Earth – salt. Necessary for all living beings, the ecosystem, the weather systems. It is a symbol of balance.

The Artist Speaks

A documentary by John Reynolds & Lee Donaldson, explores the works and inspirations of artist Motoi Yamamoto. Especially his use of salt as a medium. For me, the salt is representing life and death. A much-needed connection between the Artist and his sister. Of course, the artist uses it also as a tool for a creative meditative processes. As he explored the medium, there is an intimate connection that occurs.

In the Documentary, the artist Motoi Yamamoto says,

“….I started creating flat 2-dimensional art. The labyrinth involves turning my desires into reconnect with my important memories with my sister. Eventually into some shapes. First I placed an idea of a memorial for my sister. And in the front of my mind, and then wishing that I will be able to reconnec to that place. I start drawing a maze like pattern. But when I start I don’t know if the eventual goal and the entrance will be connected. Because there are always bumps and imperfections on the floor. And also because salt is affected by humidity….[ I am creating a labyrinth according to my feelings…salt is a transparent, colourless, and geometric form…”

Motoi Yamamoto

The Works we Love the Most


For more Artists handpicked by Divvya Nirula – do not miss the ART WATCH

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