In true Burning Man tradition, a nine-metre high sculpture called Relevé will be set on fire and light up the night sky as the centrepiece of a celebratory burn event at Chatsworth to symbolise the ‘letting go’ and closing of the exhibition Radical Horizons: The Art of Burning Man.
The three-hour event starts at 6.30pm on Saturday 1 October and features circus and fire performers, live music and dance acts and will culminate in a display of spectacular fireworks illuminating the Chatsworth landscape.
Relevé, a monumental timber structure by artist Rebekah Waites, was designed and built for this special and symbolic purpose. Visitors have been writing love notes, mantras and ‘In Memoriams’ on Relevé in the knowledge that it will be burnt, following the tradition set by the Burning Man event in Nevada.
This one-off ticketed event will also see some of the other sculptures in the exhibition illuminated on the night. A procession of huge wicker and tissue paper lanterns lit with LED lights, created with Year 9 pupils at nearby Outwood Academy, Newbold, will guide guests to Relevé for the ceremonial burn. Sheffield-based community group Mums United has made handheld paper lantern bags that will also help illuminate the way.
Both the lanterns at the burn event and the three participatory sculpture builds at the exhibition, including Relevé, were organised by Chatsworth’s in-house Learning and Engagement team.
Relevé was inspired by the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, a Bronze Age archaeological site located near Chatsworth. Nine twisted structures made of wood and intricately decorated with a rope and string laced façade dance around one another. Derbyshire folklore says that a Bronze Age stone circle near Chatsworth was formed from the remains of nine ladies turned into stone for dancing on the Sabbath.
Relevé not only pays homage to the nine ladies, but also celebrates the rebellious spirit of dance, music and art. By challenging the folklore behind this archaeological site, Relevé attempts to rewrite the story and release the women from their eternal stillness.
Radical Horizons: The Art of Burning Man has been on show since April in 1000 acres of free-to-access parkland around Chatsworth. Its twelve sculptures have attracted tens of thousands of visitors but following the burn ceremony, the remaining pieces will be dismantled and moved to other locations.