“The work comprises 166 units, with each individual unit consisting of two tables and a section of earth. Each unit is approximately the length and with of a standard coffin. Source.”
“Plegaria Muda can evoke associations of a memorial or a collective burial site. It springs out of a three-year-long research of the ghettoes of South East Los Angeles, but is also a direct answer to repeated atrocities committed by groupings within the Colombian army between 2003 and 2009. - - Plegaria Muda may be translated as “Mute Prayer” and even though the piece responds to acts of violence, it imbues us with its contemplative stillness. It does not tell stories of individual victims, but in silence it gives voice to a collective trauma that has caused festering wounds throughout an entire social fabric. Removed from a private, anonymous invisibility to the very centre of this piece is a repressed and unprocessed sorrow - a sorrow that can find no place where violent death has been reduced to complete insignificance. Source.”
Yamamoto started working in salt after the death of his sister from brain cancer. In Japan, salt is heavily associated with death and funerals, and is also used for purification. Gradually, over time, his use of the material has expanded beyond that, exploring the ways it is necessary for the survival of all creatures. His works are incredibly detailed and fragile - and temporary. After the exhibition is over, the salt is gathered up and poured into bodies of water to return it to the earth - much like the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of returning sand from their elaborate mandalas to bodies of water. It symbolises the impermanence of life and how we will all eventually return to the earth. There is a beautiful contradiction to them - the salt looks so luscious, we long to run our hands through it, but to indulge ourselves so would ruin the beauty of the installation.
I have truly fallen in love with the salt sculptures of Motoi Yamamoto. They obviously relate to me on a fairly personal level, having recently built a wall from sugar, and I wish I had seen these sculptures whilst I was working on that project as his use of form and line reminded me of the development of my own work then.
Click through on the image for a link to his website.