The mainspring of Yamamoto’s work derived from the death of his sister at a young age, and the death of his wife in the fall of 2016.
His works is represented by large – scale labyrinths and patterns for the loved ones who passed away as well as his strong desire to hold on to his memories with them.
Motoi Yamamoto has been using salt for his installation for nearly 25 years since his sister passed away in 1994.
Salt has been an essential part of human lives worldwide. In Japan, salt is a sacred substance used for funerals. Japanese use salt after a funeral in order to purify their spirits from the impurity of death. “I’m also attracted to salt not only because of its cultural and historical background, but also its translucent colors as well as the ocean where it come from as the birth place of all life. I then began to think that the salt I’m using for my artworks might have been in the ocean at one point, supporting our lives, holding the “memories of life” within itself.”
Drawing a labyrinth with salt is for the artist a way to follow a trace of his memory. In this way he is able to touch a precious moment in his memory which can not be attained through pictures or writings.
He draws all the lines by himself when he works on installation. He never erase or re-draw the lines.“We all live in the real world where life can not be undone or rewind. Lines I draw reflect myself who is alive in this moment”. But it depends not only on his psychological or physical condition, but also on the condition of the floor or the level of humidity. He always silently follows the trace, that is controlled as well as uncontrolled from the starting point until completion.
The series of works named “Floating Garden” is similar to lacework, an act of slowly rediscovering pieces of memories tucked quietly in the drawers in the mind of the artist, and weaving them together. He draws countless tiny cells with salt or paint and these cells symbolize pieces of memories and fragments of small daily events that he and his sister and his wife shared.
Motoi has been drawing swirls and labyrinths (patterns with lines that intertwine like a maze). Such patterns have been used as a symbols to represent rebirth. Swirls symbolize life and death, resurrection, and rebirth showing a strong vitality and eternity mainly in East Asia. Labyrinths symbolize almost exactly the same aspects in the West, originated from Scotland and Greece.
Motoi Yamamoto born in 1966 in Hiroshima and lives in Kanazawa, Japan. Graduated from Kanazawa College of Art in 1995.
Some of the past exhibitions include MoMA P.S.1., Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg), Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Contemporary Art, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, “Return to the Sea”.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITION
2005 “Labyrinth” Ierimonti Gallery / Milan
“To the White in White” Nizayama Forest Art Museum, Toyama, Japan
2009 “Sakura” Mikiko Sato Gallery, Hamburg “Sakura” Kanazawa Artgummi / Ishikawa, Japan
2010 “Salz” Jesuitenkirch Sankt Peter / Cologne “Floating Garden” eN-arts, Kyoto, Japan
2011 “To the White Forest” Hakone Open-Air Museum / Kanagawa, Japan
2012 “Return to the Sea” Halsey Institute Of Contemporary Art / Charleston
“Return to the Sea” Laband Art Gallery, Los Angeles
2013 “Return to the Sea” Monterey Museum of Art / Monterey
“Return to the Sea” The Mint Museum / Charlotte “Floating Garden” Erunst Barlach Haus / Hamburg “Floating Garden” Inga Gallery, Tel Aviv
2104 “Floating Garden” La Galerie Particulière / Paris “Return to the Sea” Shaw Gallery / Salt lake City “Return to the Sea” Westminster Collage / Salt Lake City
2105 “Return to the Origin” Pola Museum Annex / Tokyo
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITION
2003 “The First Steps; Emerging Artist From Japan” MoMA P.S.1. / New York
2004 “The Encounters in the 21st Century”, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
2005 “Rising Sun, Melting Moon-Contemporary Art from Japan” The Israel Museum / Jerusalem
2006 “Force of Nature” Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Charleston / Charleston
2009 “Hundred Stories about Love” 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa / Ishikawa
2010 “MOT Annual 2010 – Neo-Ornamentalism from Japanese Contemporary Art” Museum of
Contemporary Art, Tokyo
2011 “City Net-Asia 2011 / Seoul Museum of Art / Seoul
2013 “Mono no Aware – The Beauty of Things” / The Hermitage State Museum / Saint Petersburg
“Peace Meets Art!” / Hiroshima Prefectural Museum / Hiroshima
2014 “La Nuit Blanche” / Hôtel de Ville de Paris
2016 “Roppongi Art Night 2016” / Roppongi Hilles / Tokyo
“Setouchi Triennale 2016” / Takami – Jima island / Kagawa
“UNIVERS’ sel” Aigues-Mortes, France
2017 “A Corridor of Art through the Mountain and Seas” / Momo-shima island / Hiroshima
2018 “Altering home” 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa / Ishikawa
2002 P.S.1. award in Philip Morris K.K Art Award 2002
2003 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Inc.
2010 Voyager + AIT Artist Support Program