Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.
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.
Top image: Flickr user Butterforfilm.