Galway 2020’s Savage Beauty transforms Connemara mountains

Photo: Christopher Lund

Photo: Christopher Lund

Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture is now presenting Savage Beauty as an online art experience created by Finnish light artist Kari Kola. The artwork transforms Ireland’s Connemara mountains with colour and light in the largest site-specific light artwork ever created.

Initially planned as a public event from 14-17 March, in light of the restrictions in place in response to Covid-19, Galway 2020 are now making the Savage Beauty artwork available as a special digital edition.

Described as “a savage beauty” by Oscar Wilde, Connemara is rural Ireland at its most dramatic. Kari Kola’s installation of 1,000 lights spread over a distance of 5 kilometres, transforming the mountains in a wash of vibrant pulsating colours.

Artist, Kari Kola said; “Since I can’t paint, I paint with light. I’m also interested in light beyond its artistic value. Everything on the planet is based on light. I’m working with scientific projects and new, futuristic techniques.

“With abstract light, there are as many stories as there are viewers. If I can choose, I always work with nature because that’s the best art that we have. I am very disappointed that the public exhibition of this work had to be cancelled, but I hope that this digital edition will show how we played with scale in Connemara and created something that people would not expect.”

Helen Marriage, Creative Director, Galway 2020 said she is so proud of Kari Kola and his brilliant team who have worked day and night for the past fortnight in some of the most challenging weather conditions to create this wonderful artwork.

“We’ve been really moved by how welcome the local community has made us during this time. Their support has been invaluable. While regrettably we have had to cancel the live exhibitions of Savage Beauty following government guidance on public gatherings due to Covid-19 virus, I’m thrilled that we are able to share this special digital edition so that as many people as possible are able to experience this extraordinary artwork.”

Kari Kola has directed over 2,000 projects in dramatic settings including the opening ceremony of the Year of Light on the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris (2015 ), and Stonehenge (2018 ).


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