R-Evolution at Burning Man 2015…

 

The 48 foot sculpture R-Evolution looks across the Playa at Burning Man

The 48 foot sculpture R-Evolution looks across the Playa at Burning Man.

“Art can illuminate the human condition and be a catalyst to social change… it can foment revolution… it can make a difference in individuals’ lives… in your life.” —Marco Cochrane

She stood there in her nakedness, looking out across the Playa, all 48 feet of her. She was a tall woman.

R-Evolution is the third in a series of giant women sculptures created by the Bay Area artist Marco Cochrane for Burning Man. Marco named his three-part effort the Bliss Project after his first sculpture, Bliss Dance, which appeared at Burning Man in 2010 and later graced Treasure Island.   Truth Is Beauty appeared in 2013 and R-Evolution in 2015.

Bliss sculpture at Burning Man in 2010.

Bliss Dance sculpture at Burning Man in 2010.

Truth is Beauty sculpture at Burning Man 2013.

Truth is Beauty sculpture at Burning Man 2013.

Working out of his studio on Treasure Island, Marco used the same woman, Deja Solis, as the model for each of his giant woman. The purpose behind his monumental work, according to Marco, is to “challenge the viewer to see past the sexual charge that has developed around the female body… to inspire men and women to take action to end violence against women, making room for women’s voices, thus allowing both women and men to live fully and thrive.”

Marco starts with a clay model and then works upward and outward, constructing the final sculpture of steel rods and balls, which is then covered with a stainless steel mesh. For those who like details, the 55-feet tall Truth is Beauty weighed 7,000 pounds and was constructed using 55,000 single welds, 25,000 feet of steel rod and pipe, 6500 steel ball connection points, and 2000 square feet of stainless steel mesh. 1500 multi-colored LED lights were distributed throughout her body for nighttime illumination.

I feel lucky that I was able to be at Burning Man the three times that Marco brought his art work to Black Rock City. I felt compelled each year to revisit the statues again and again. As I look back over my photographs (there are a bunch), I’ve come to reverse their presentation in my mind. I start with the quiet and contemplative R-Evolution, move on to the enlightened and celebratory Truth Is Beauty, and end with the joyfully dancing Bliss. Maybe I’ve made this choice because Marco uses as his motto on his website one of my all-time favorite quotes and guidelines for living life:

“Follow your bliss and doors will open where none existed.” –Joseph Campbell

I like this photo because it shows the meditative quality of R-Evolution.

I like this photo because it shows the peaceful, meditative quality of R-Evolution.

This photo by Don Green captures the sunlight in an interesting way.

This photo by Don Green captures the sunlight reflected off of R-Evolution’s structure in an interesting way. Can you spot the heart?

Cochrane's use of hands in his sculptures always tell part of the story.

Cochrane’s use of hands in his sculptures always tell part of the story.

A close up showing the internal structure of the hand.

A close up showing the internal structure of the hand.

A large group attended an evening discussion on the issue of violence against women.

A large group attended an evening discussion on the issue of violence against women.

R-Evolution, Bliss and Truth Is Beauty were all designed to take on a variety of colors at night, providing a completely different perspective on the sculptures.

R-Evolution, Bliss Dance and Truth Is Beauty were all designed to take on a variety of colors at night, providing a completely different perspective on the sculptures.

I thought this was quite dramatic.

I thought this was quite dramatic with its black sky background.

A final view of R-Evolution looking across the Playa at the distant mountains of the Black Rock Desert.

A final view of R-Evolution looking across the Playa at the distant mountains of the Black Rock Desert.

NEXT BLOG: The murals of Burning Man.

37 comments on “R-Evolution at Burning Man 2015…

    • It had a large base, so I assume it was anchored. But go back and check out Bliss Dance. She must have had a large actor driven into the ground. Given the winds at Burning Man, your question is excellent. –Curt

  1. This is beautiful! I think I’ve seen this sculpture before and it was always one of my favorites when viewing art from the Burning Man. The snakes and carnival people I’m sure took time, effort, and much talent, but give me nightmares. ;). This is really incredible and I bet seeing it up close and personal was an aha moment indeed.

    • No doubt if you seen photos from Burning Man 2015 you’ve seen R-Evolution, Brigette. I can’t imagine anyone being there and not taking photos of her. I’ve blogged about Bliss Dance and Truth Is Beauty in the past. I watched people lie down and stare up at R-Evolution for the longest time. An aha indeed. –Curt

  2. Yes, I too am in awe of those sculptures. What happens to those ladies? Are there any R-Evolution sculptures of nude of men or are the forms of nude women a much more delightful vision to behold?

    • Very good question on the nude men, Gerard. There are a number of live ones usually at Burning Man, but I have yet to see a sculpture of one. I am with you on which I find better, but Peggy might disagree. 🙂 –Curt

  3. Curt you ought to be proud of this post, the pics and the words you wrote with them. This is truly inspiring our friend. Stories like this make us proud to be part of an industry that is all about self awareness and invoking change. We can’t wait to share this with our community & our proud to post this!! 😉

  4. These sculptures are absolutely amazing. Thanks for the “inside” picture of the hand — just makes me realize not only the art of the piece but the framework, too. I’m amazed at how enormous some of the art is at Burning Man. How do they transport it to the site?

    • I am sure it is some of the largest art in the world. As for how it gets there, large trucks is part of the answer. In another blog, I will provide an example. Even with large trucks, most of the work comes disassembled and is assembled on the spot. I saw a photo of a large crane putting on R-Evolution’s head. –Curt

  5. These remarkable women will stay in my mind and my heart for years to come, and I am grateful for your photos. I love Bliss the best. How can I resist the joyful dancing? R-Evolution, to me, makes more of a statement than the others, but I am at a loss to explain why. Maybe because she is uncomplicated and unadorned with activity. She is the simplest form of “woman” of the three, and I think that’s why it seems more profound. Because I can’t get distracted with any other ideas; I am forced to look directly at her and think about her as she is.

    How I wish that all women commanded this reaction from all people.

    • Bliss was my favorite as well. I loved the pure joy. And I think you are right about R-Evolution… She is contemplative, representing a whole person. I never deny sex, it is part of who we are, a very important part, but it is only the beginning. –Curt

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