LMU Newsroom

motoiIn a remarkable exhibition that will begin with the artist creating an original work out of hundreds of pounds of sea salt, the Laband Art Gallery at LMU presents Return to the Sea: Saltworks by Motoi Yamamoto this month. The media is invited to a media-only video and photo opportunity next week. The exhibition centerpiece is a site-specific saltscape created by Yamamoto from 400 pounds of salt on the gallery floor over a two-week residency that begins Aug. 26.

The media may take video and photograph Yamamoto at work in the gallery. The public, too, is invited to view (but not photograph) Yamamoto creating his salt installation at the gallery. The at-work viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 29 to 31 and Sept. 4 to 6.

The gallery will host an opening Sept. 8, with an artist’s reception from 4 to 6 p.m. The exhibit runs through Dec. 8. Yamamoto’s creation of the salt-work will be captured as a time-lapse feature and posted on the LMU website.
Japanese artist Motoi Yamamoto began working in salt while mourning his sister’s death at 24 from brain cancer. Searching for a connection to her, perhaps seeking to express the impermanent nature of life, Yamamoto turned to salt as a medium for exploring his memory. Salt is a traditional symbol for mourning and purification in Japan, where it is used in funerals and by sumo wrestlers before matches.

Since 2001, he’s been creating large-scale, intricate floor installations, such as the one at the Laband, by pouring salt from a plastic squeeze bottle onto the floor. Along with the “Floating Garden” floor installation, the Laband will also display salt drawings and photographs of other salt projects by the artist.

A video will provide further insight into Motoi’s installation process. A delicate, watercolor drawing using the same type of patterns he creates in salt will be displayed on a 31-foot scroll that will hang in the atrium of LMU’s William H. Hannon Library. More information here and videos and more photographs here.

Integral to the program is the dismantling of the work at the show’s end and delivering the salt back to the ocean; hence, the title Return to the Sea. On closing day, Dec. 8, the public will be invited to help collect the 400 pounds of salt in the installation and return it to the Pacific Ocean at nearby Playa del Rey.

There are a series of events associated with this exhibition, including a play, a gallery walkthrough, and a lecture.

Carolyn Peter is director and curator of the Laband Art Gallery. She can be contacted at 310.338.3087, or at carolyn.peter@lmu.edu

Return to the Sea: Saltworks by Motoi Yamamoto was organized by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, College of Charleston School of the Arts. Mark Sloan, director and senior curator at the Halsey, curated the exhibition.

The salt for the exhibition was generously donated by Morton Salt of Newark, Calif.

The exhibition and the related programs are made possible in part by the generous support of the College of Communication and Fine Arts, LMU’s Theatre Arts Program, LMU’s Music Department, the William H. Hannon Library, the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, MGS Architecture, and Moon & Associates.

The Laband Art Gallery opened in 1984 as part of the Fritz B. Burns Fine Arts Center with a generous gift from Walter and Francine Laband.

For current program and exhibition information, call 310-338-2880 or visit http://cfa.lmu.edu/laband.

Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.; closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Image of Yamamoto is courtesy of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Charleston, S.C., where the work was shown.