Monday, November 26, 2012

A Garden of Salt

 Floating Garden, 2012, 33'x26', installation of Morton's table salt, Motoi Yamamoto, © Laband Art Gallery
275 pounds of Morton’s table salt was used by Japanese artist Motoi Yamamoto to produce his new site-specific work “Floating Garden,” currently installed at the Laband Art Gallery through December 8, 2012.  The delicate lace-like work required approximately 102 hours of labor; the salt was laid out with the use of minimal tools such as a plastic motor oil bottle, a funnel, a sieve and a plastic cup. A time-lapse video of the production of “Floating Garden” can be viewed by clicking here.  The salt scape covers much of the gallery’s floor space with a perimeter walkway left for viewers to access a number of wall works and a viewing platform.  The elevated viewing platform allows for an aerial perspective of “Floating Garden.” Yamamoto’s connection to his primary material, salt, developed while mourning the loss of his sister.  In the Japanese culture, salt is symbolically used for rituals of purification and mourning.  Yamamoto produces salt labyrinths as both a healing exercise and to evoke memories of his sister.  A number of wall works bookend the floor installation.  Half of the wall works are produced of pencil, acrylic color and wood and consist of delicate spiral drawings which mimic some of the labyrinthine patterns found in the floor based salt scape.  An opposing wall holds each drawing’s negative form printed on Japanese paper.  As with many of Yamamoto’s salt scapes, the conclusion of each work resides in a collaboration with the public, wherein guests are invited to collect salt form the work and return it to the sea.  On Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 1pm viewers are invited to gather salt crystals from “Floating Garden.”  A group will travel together from the Laband Art Gallery to Playa del Rey to return the salt to the Pacific Ocean.  

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