“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.
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
NEXT BLOG: The murals of Burning Man.