U N M E I by Olivia Tutton, MA Degree Show 2016


Unmei is the result of an extensive body of work and progressive research series, in conjunction with a recent visit to Japan to exhibit work for the Setouchi Triennale 2016, a contemporary art festival.

Olivia is engrossed with the power of the human mind. Memory and memory loss are areas she examines – a loved one’s diagnosis with Dementia and her ultimate deterioration is the stimulus on which she builds.

This body of work has considered order and precision, purposefully highlighting the structural viewing points. The notion of slowly becoming transparent alludes to the convenience of the body melting along with the mind.


Traditional Japanese culture uses salt as a purifying agent, a small amount placed outside a home acts to cleanse the individual passing through. Similarly, salt is used to scatter over yourself after attending a funeral. Salt is also used to preserve, remove moisture and dehydrate. When paralleled with Western culture, salt is the enemy – decaying the mind and body. It transpires that over a teaspoon a day of salt is enough to ‘dull the mind.’

The semi circle presentation of this piece provides permission to enter, mirroring the inviting manner of Japanese custom. The salt cone sequence displays a type of memory walk – a perfected interior garden – just over a teaspoon of the destructive material in each mound.


Visually and olfactory stimulating, turmeric boosts memory, cognition and encourages a feeling of content. This unspoilt boundary of pigment acts as a clear border line – an enticement or aid for Alzheimer’s patients, assisting with memory recall or signalling a danger zone. Colour becomes extremely important when recognition deteriorates, the power of smell has the ability to unlock the most distant recollection. Naturally with this condition, the quality of smell to evoke memories will fade, much like the increasing fragility of the body.

Turmeric runs through the centre of a window perspective, the framed landscape behind is enhanced by rich colour, outlining the rigidity of the traditional Japanese garden scene.


3-5 cups of coffee at midlife is associated with decreased risk of dementia.

As with each work, the frustration experienced for my audience to kick over the salt, walk through the turmeric and sneeze on the coffee does as much to lightly play on the exasperation of sufferers of this condition who are slowly being stolen from themselves.

Three dissolvable materials, three powerful entities combining to activate an inquiry into the invisible thief.

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