Floating Gardens at the Mint Museum

This morning I went with my student from my Modern Art and Architecture class (Interior Design/ Art Institute of Charlotte) to the Uptown Mint Museum. We went to specifically see the finished installation of Floating Gardens by Motoi Yamamoto. I have to admit I wasn’t familiar with his work before I heard about his exhibition in Charlotte.
When you enter the Mint you first come into the Morrison Atrium, where the Floating Gardens are currently to be seen. It is very interesting with what carefulness people approach it. You almost stop breathing. You slow down. This is coming partially from the fear of destroying the artwork and partially from the sheer fascination by the scale and precision of the work. This in turn makes you feel very calm inside. The project arrays a Zen like tranquility and touching beauty.
Motoi is concerned with the well being of nature, especially oceans. The Floating Gardens look like a satellite picture of the ocean. Motoi is a Japanese native and the installation has a lot to do with the geography and tradition of Japan. He uses salt for his installation, graphite drawings and photography. Salt is a traditional symbol for purification and mourning in Japan. It is also used to fend of evil spirits. Spilling salt has always been bad luck in western cultures as well. But for Motoi it has also a very personal connection – one can sense his personal pain in his work.
Motoi is concerned with the environment, and his art reminds us of how fragile nature is – here one moment and gone the next.
My family and I are taking part in the dismantling of the Floating Gardens tomorrow. I explained what we will do tomorrow to my 7 year old daughter, and she said “So it is like a cycle. He gets the salt from the sea, he makes something out of it and then we bring it back, just like in nature”. Pretty insightful for a 7 year old. I think she will have fun tomorrow.