Ah yes, Bord na Móna Yellow (it was a much nicer yellow than Covid-19 Yellow). It was used on everything from turf harvesting machines to the little narrow-gauge turf trains… to the power stations themselves. It was also used on a sculpture by Maurice MacDonagh at Lough Boora Discovery Park in Co. Offaly.
“Raised Circle” (above) is constructed from recycled narrow-gauge rail and fixed one metre above the lush vegetation of the bog, sometimes disappearing during the summer season and then re-appearing in the autumn.
It is a quiet, unassuming piece… No, it’s not “just a circle”.
The symbol of the circle stands for wholeness, unity, perfection, infinity, eternity, Life, the universe, everything. As Pythagoras might’ve said, the circle is the most perfect shape. Every point of the circumference is the exact same distance from the centre. It has no beginning and no end; it is infinite; so, what more could you possibly want, you pleb (!)
Of course, if it’s geometry you’re after, there’s also the triangles at Lough Boora, as you see above. This is a piece entitled: “60 Degrees” by Kevin O’Dwyer.
He constructed the series of equilateral triangles of decreasing size to highlight the shadows that were cast on the landscape as the sun crossed the sky from morning to night and from summer to winter. One can imagine the ancient Mesolithic people of Lough Boora similarly studying the movement of sun, moon and stars.
Yes, back in 1977, the area of Lough Boora was investigated by archaeologists who discovered several carefully made stone tools amongst the charcoal remains of ancient campfires, dated between 6800 and 6500 BC. These were the temporary campsites of hunters during the Mesolithic Age (the Middle Stone Age).
But perhaps the most telling sculpture in this wonderful place is the piece above by Naomi Seki, the Japanese artist who took part in the original sculpture symposium in 2002.
It’s a wooden structure entitled: “A Tree in a Sculpture” and it poses the question: when will the tree grow taller than the sculpture? Eighteen years later, we have the answer – the manmade structure has fallen and the tree continues to grow.
You might think that it was arrogance on the part of the sculptor, to think that she could build a structure that would outlast a tree, but methinks that she knew very well what the final answer would be – because that Birch tree was never going to reach 8 metres in height out there on the windswept bog.
So the sculpture still works, still makes you think, even though only a fragment of the original structure remains.