“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.
39 thoughts on “R-Evolution at Burning Man 2015…”
Is it anchored to a base?
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
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
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
What a statue! Even though it might make me blush. 😉
Cute Carrie. I think almost anything makes you blush. (Laughing) –Curt
Well, in public with strangers, anyway. With my inner circle I’d be yukking it up. 🙂
Everyone is a little strange at Burning Man, including yours truly, although I am probably a bit more conservative than most. 🙂 But, the point being, when everyone is strange, what the heck!
The only way I could ever go is with my wild sister. Unlike reserved me, she’s an extroverted let-your-freak-fly kind of gal. I’m sure her rock band roots and her colorful artwork of tattoos would let her fit right in. She’s awesome. She gets me to do things I wouldn’t otherwise. 🙂
It’s good to have a sister like that! 🙂
Wow! It is hard for me to imagine an artist being able to create something so beautiful on such a large scale. Where does the statue go after Burning Man?
I know, it always boggles my mind. As for where R-Evolution will go, good question, Sue. Most of Burning Man’s permanent art, that which isn’t burned, finds a home somewhere. I don’t know where R-Evolution is going. Bliss Dance has a home in the Bay Area. –Curt
It might make a great post Curt-Where does the Burning Man art go when the festival ends?
Thanks for the idea Sue. I’ve seen some reports, and it fact, spot Burning Man art on occasion. I’ll see what I can put together. –Curt
Looking forward to it!
🙂 It will be a while. –Curt
All three are very powerful sculptures but I think R-Evolution is his best yet.
Interesting AC… want to comment on why? –Curt
Omg it glows. Ha ha ha. Wooee!
That “she” does D. (Laughing!)
Celebration of life, I’d say, I’ll drink to that!
Very much so, David.
Beautiful… She does look peaceful…
Yes, I thought Cochrane caught the expressions so well… –Curt
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!! 😉
Thanks so much my friends. To me, this is what blogging is about, being able to capture and share the things that move and inspire us out in the world… –Curt
Again, thanks so much…
What an extraordinary artist he is. And what an extraordinary human being. Stunning, powerful sculptures.
I’m definitely all about the Joseph Campbell quote!
Yes he is. As for Campbell, I’ve read almost everything he published… –Curt
Oh my gosh, what fantastic art and artist!. You’re fortunate indeed to have witnessed these in person, I can only imagine how more impressive they would be to see in person. -Ginette
To use the old term, Ginette: mind blowing. I was truly sorry that R-Evolution ended the series. –Curt
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
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
Hi! Beautiful photos!! I am helping the Bliss crew document R-evolution’s journey to Washington DC later this month. May I use and credit some of your photos within the videos I will be making?
Absolutely, Elizabeth. I would be honored. –Curt