Premium e-journal of social science

Abstract


TREATING MOURNING AND SORROW WITH SALT: RITUAL INSTALLATIONS BY YAMAMOTO

Motoi Yamamoto (b.1966) is one of the important names representing Japan in the global art scene. A new phase begins in the life and art of Yamamoto, who lost his sister from brain cancer in 1994. After this date, the only material of the artist is salt, which was attributed to the values of protection from evil forces and inner purification in ancient Japanese culture. But the main thing the artist hopes from the salt is that it will be a bridge that will reconnect him to his sister's memories. In performing his site-specific installations, Yamamoto gently pours salt onto the floor in absolute silence and a kind of ecstasy. At the end of this patient-filled act of long hours, a labyrinth-like formation, an organic order processed like lace, emerges. This is a monumental creation in which the thousands of tiny cells surrounded by salt serve as reservoirs in which not only the artist but also the audience's memories can accumulate. The show ends with this monumental structure being dissolved and the salt returned to its original place, the ocean. While Yamamoto's art makes one think about the high status of salt in pre-modern times and the meanings of this essential mineral in different cultures, it also calls into question the concepts of time, memory and life cycle. But the main element that stands out in the ritual installations of the Japanese artist is that a contemporary (post-modern) art practice is used as a way of dealing with mourning and grief.



Keywords
Motoi Yamamoto, salt, art, installation, rituel



References