The Purifying Aspects of Salt

Posted by on March 27, 2012

I have low blood pressure. So low that I was not allowed to donate blood when I was in high school. I often feel light-headed when I stand up (not stand up quickly, just stand up). It is apparently not so low as to be dangerous, but I do crave salt. I have been known to eat salt directly out of the shaker, and when I cook I have to actively monitor the salt level so other diners are not repulsed.

A few years ago, I was making a potato dish and my roommate stopped me from adding (extra) salt. I said something like: “No more? Potatoes really love salt.” She replied, “are you sure the potatoes are the ones who love the salt?”

I stand by it. Yes, potatoes do love salt.

So, I am predisposed to admire artwork that incorporates salt, but I think this is pretty universally appealing.

Motoi Yamamoto creates intricate salt labyrinths. It can take him weeks to create an instillation, slowly, methodically working backward to not disturb the pattern already created.

Labyrinth instillation in the Jesuit Church of St Peter in Cologne, Germany

Salt is used in purifying rituals in many different cultures, and is also associated with death rites. In Japan, mourners are often sprinkled with salt after leaving a funeral to ward off evil.

Yamamoto started creating his salt patterns as a kind of meditation after the death of his sister from brain cancer at the age of 24.

This work, Forest of Beyond, looks a little like images of brain circuitry.

Labyrinth at the Fondation Espace Ecureuil in Toulouse, France

Yamamoto also uses salt blocks to create sculptures. With either technique, the work is not permanent, and he asks that the salt be returned to the ocean after the exhibit.

from an interview on NPR:

“He says he likes to think the salt in his work might have, at one time, been part of some creature and supported its existence. ‘I believe that salt enfolds the memory of lives,’ he writes.”

Forest of Skyscraper The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Japan



Meditation takes many forms, and the body does not have to be still in order to quiet the mind.

via Huffington Post

images from NPR and Huffington Post

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