Salt mourning

Long black furrows zigzag through an expanse of white streamers to a horizon surmounted by mountains. The eye plays to weave its way through the windings of these tiny corridors, to lose itself in these detours that lead nowhere, except to locate itself furtively here and there, at an angle of this fairy labyrinth, before straying from more beautiful and finally dissolving in the haze that separates the plain from the snow-covered range. These furrows, these summits, are not made of stone or powder snow. But of salt. Millions and millions of grains of salt to translate our dismay and our dazzle at the same time in the face of the mystery of death.

With infinite patience, one week on average for the creation of a work, Motoi Yamamoto creates ephemeral installations, all extremely fragile, like this Labyrinth of gigantic proportions. The choice of material, the gesture and the time required remind us, like a vanity, of our fleeting presence on earth. Struck by the death of his sister, the artist sought, to relieve his grief, a working theme whose common thread would be the rebirth between death and life. He chose the salt, used in Japan after the funeral: when the Buddhist monk finishes reading the sutra, the people who attended the funeral sprinkle themselves with salt before returning home in order to purify themselves and to hunt. bad luck, before healing, they hope, of the pain associated with bereavement.

If it traditionally symbolizes purification, the salt here prolongs, in the meticulous gesture of the artist, the memory of the dead. “Drawing a maze with salt,” said Yamamoto, “is like chasing a trail of my memory. »At the end of each exhibition, the public is invited to participate in the dispersal of the work: each guest takes a portion of salt until the installation is completely erased. The group then goes to the sea, near the exhibition site, to return the salt to its place of origin. The work will have lasted, in all and for all, only the time necessary to arrive in the existence and to complete the cycle: like a life therefore, between two infinities.

Between these two infinities, the time before birth and that after death, the work stands before us. The elegance of Yamamoto’s labyrinth is due to the delicacy with which it stages the trajectory of human destiny, but also to the reminder that it makes, to us who are in front of these ephemeral all-white furrows, of the price that is necessary. grant it.


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