Kari Kola illuminates Irish mountainside with 1,000 lights
Finnish artist Kari Kola used myriad emerald and blue lights to transform an area of Ireland's Connemara mountains into what he claims was "the largest site-specific light artwork ever created".
The Savage Beauty installation comprises 1,000 large lamps spread over three miles of the Irish mountain range flanking Loch na Fuaiche in north Connemara.
The artwork flooded the undulating topography in vibrant, pulsating colours. Intended to highlight the beauty of this remote landscape, the green and blue light was reflected in the loch and illuminated the low-lying clouds.
Kola was commissioned to create the artwork as part of the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture events programme.
The installation takes its name after a quote by Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, who described Connemara as "a savage beauty".
"Since I can't paint, I paint with light," said Kola, who has produced more than 2,000 installations in unique locations, including illuminating Unesco's Paris headquarters for the opening of the 2015 Year of Light, and lighting Stonehenge for World Heritage Day in 2018.
"I'm also interested in light beyond its artistic value," the artist added. "Everything on the planet is based on light. If I can choose, I always work with nature because that’s the best art that we have."
It took several weeks to install the lights, as well as the 20 kilometres of cables connected to 16 generators that were deposited by helicopter across the mountainside.
Plans for up to 20,000 people to participate in self-guided walks to view the artwork over the St Patrick's weekend had to be cancelled due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
However, the light show went ahead privately and was documented in a film made available as a "digital edition" for the wider public to view without needing to visit the site.
"I am very disappointed that the public exhibition of this work had to be cancelled," said Kola, "but I hope that the digital edition will show how we played with scale in Connemara and created something that people would not expect."
Studio Drift also utilises lights to create captivating installations. The Amsterdam-based studio's latest work saw it program 300 drones to perform a routine at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
This installation was initially held in Miami Beach, where 300 drones were choreographed to mimic a flock of birds.