Galway 2020’s Savage Beauty now an online experience

A new way to see largest site-specific light artwork ever created

Photo of Kari Kola's Savage Beauty light installation in Connemara. Photo:- Cormac MacMahon. Other photos in this article are by Christopher Lund.

Photo of Kari Kola's Savage Beauty light installation in Connemara. Photo:- Cormac MacMahon. Other photos in this article are by Christopher Lund.

IT WAS to have been a public event, taking place this week in the run up to St Patrick’s Day, but following the coronavirus restrictions, Savage Beauty is now an online art experience.

Savage Beauty, a creation by the Finnish light artist Kari Kola, and part of the Galway 2020 programme of events, was due to be held between last Saturday and St Patrick’s Day.

The installation took its name from a phrase Oscar Wilde used to describe Connemara: “a savage beauty”. The artist used 1,000 lights spread over a distance of 5km to transform the mountains in a wash of vibrant, pulsating, colours. The largest site-specific light artwork ever created, Kola and his team created and installed the work over the last fortnight, and often in challenging weather conditions.

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“I paint with light,” said Kola. “I’m also interested in light beyond its artistic value. Everything on the planet is based on light. I am very disappointed that the public exhibition of this work had to be cancelled, but I hope this digital edition will show how we played with scale in Connemara and created something that people would not expect.”

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Helen Marriage, creative director of Galway 2020 thanked the local community for “how welcome they made us” during the creation of the work. “Their support has been invaluable,” she said. “While regrettably we have had to cancel the live exhibitions of Savage Beauty, I’m thrilled we are able to share this special digital edition so that as many people as possible are able to experience this extraordinary artwork.”

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