Butterforfilm/Flickr

The Japanese artist designs massive mazes by pouring salt on the floor.

Wars have been fought over salt, and thank goodness for that, because now we can enjoy the saline plenitude of Motoi Yamamoto's crystalline paintings. In 2010, he fashioned a circular brain-like pattern in a church in Hamburg, Germany, where the artist is shown seated, below.

Last year, in a vaulted brick space in a gallery in Southwestern France, Yamamoto spent five days using 2,200 pounds of salt to "draw" one of his mesmerizing mazes, pouring salt crystals from a plastic bottle, working away from the mural.

Now, finally, fans in the United States are getting a taste of Yamamoto's work. He has just finished an exhibition in Charleston, South Carolina, of his work "Return to the Sea," on its way to Los Angeles next month. The title is both a statement and a command - he really wants viewers to take portions of the piece with them.

It looks like painstaking work, but his technique (and the product) bring to mind another artist who painted dizzying black-and-white patterns. 

Photo credit: Marcus Merz/Flickr
Photo credit: ButterForFilm/Flickr

Top image: Flickr user Butterforfilm.

About the Author

Henry Grabar

Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.   

Most Popular

  1. Design

    The Military Declares War on Sprawl

    The Pentagon thinks better designed, more walkable bases can help curb obesity and improve troops’ fitness.

  2. Modest two-bedroom apartments are unaffordable to full-time minimum wage workers in every U.S. county.
    Maps

    Rent Is Affordable to Low-Wage Workers in Exactly 12 U.S. Counties

    America’s mismatch between wages and rental prices is more perverse than ever.

  3. A house with two cars is pictured.
    Equity

    It's Time to Change How We Measure Affordable Housing

    A cheap home isn’t affordable if it comes with high transportation costs.

  4. Equity

    The Poverty Just Over the Hills From Silicon Valley

    The South Coast, a 30-mile drive from Palo Alto, is facing an affordable-housing shortage that is jeopardizing its agricultural heritage.

  5. A new apartment rises in Cleveland's University Circle neighborhood, one of the region's major job hubs.
    POV

    One Key to a Rust Belt Comeback: Job Hubs

    Cleveland is looking to make inclusive growth attainable by connecting jobs to people and people to jobs.