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Patience is a virtue, and certainly a virtue well used by Japanese artist Motoi Yamamoto. The renowned artist recently completed a seven day artist residency at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art where he created a wall-to-wall installation composed entirely of intricately laid loops of table salt. The end result is absolutely breathtaking, and the exhibition is one of the featured presentations of Spoleto Festival USA.

The exhibition has certainly generated a lot of buzz around town, and art lovers, creatives, and curious Charlestonians of all ages packed into the Halsey to view the piece and catch a glimpse of the artist himself. The party kicked off with traditional Taiko drumming, which featured a number of very small women making a lot of beautiful noise on very, very large drums. The music reverberated throughout the hall, washing over the crowd as everyone pushed in close to catch a glimpse of the performance.

“It’s so much fun,” one of the Taiko drummers confessed to a friend. “It’s a great outlet, and really great exercise!”

Partygoers mingled outside the gallery over wine and beer before squeezing into the main space to enjoy Yamamoto’s exquisite installation. The piece spans almost the entire length of the main gallery, and a temporary platform has been installed to allow viewers to step out over the greater part of the salt work. Attendees lingered both atop the platform, taking in the overall scope and form of the work, and along the edges of the exhibit, where one could get an up-close look at the small loops of salt laid by Yamamoto.

The adjoining gallery spaces feature Yamamoto’s drawings, photographs, and two separate films about the artist and his process. The exhibit will be on display through July 7, when there will be a public dismantling of the installation.

The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art is administered by the School of the Arts at the College of Charleston and exists to advocate, exhibit and interpret visual art, with an emphasis on contemporary art.

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