The New Being

Submitted by Patrick Beldio

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Client: Sufism Reoriented

Location: Walnut Creek, CA, United States

Completion date: 2016

Project Team

Artist

Patrick Beldio

Reunion Studios

Client

Sufism Reoriented

Sufism Reoriented

Architect

Alan Ritchie

Philip Johnson Alan Ritchie Architects

Other

Colbar Art Inc.

Colbar Art Inc.

Architect

Clem Soga

soga + associates architects inc

Other

Thornton Thomasetti Structural Engineers

Thornton Thomasetti Structural Engineers

Other

Earthquake Protection Systems, Inc

Earthquake Protection Systems, Inc

Other

Direct Dimensions, Inc.

Direct Dimensions, Inc.

Other

Digital Atelier 3D Enlargement

Digital Atelier

Other

Gary Torgerson

Brush Plating Specialists

Art Consultant

Janet Nolan

J S Nolan + Associates Lighting Design, LLC

Other

Cold Spring Granite Company

Cold Spring Granite Company

Industry Resource

Mussi Artworks Foundry

Overview

The New Being is a monumental, 11-ton figurative sculpture installed inside a new sanctuary for Sufism Reoriented designed by architect Alan Ritchie of the Philip Johnson Alan Ritchie firm of NYC. The sculpture was designed to harmonize with the spiral staircase in order to inspire people as they entered and exited the building, reminding them of their deepest aspirations. It is brush-plated bronze, cast clear acrylic, granite, fiber optic lighting with steel infrastructure and triple friction pendulum base isolators, with dimensions of 39'-5″ x 16'-5″ x 14'-9.” It took over 9 years to complete.

Goals

The client wanted to give physical form to the purpose of Creation as revealed by Meher Baba. He foretold a “New Humanity” when more elevated human qualities would emerge, bringing a more benevolent age. The client wanted the sculpture to convey these qualities. She asked that the figure be lithe and androgynous, graceful and joyful and, having been freed from the bonds of its lower nature, emit a lightness of being. We decided to choose materials that would represent different stages in the evolution of consciousness—from dark to light, from stone to human, from binding to freedom. The black granite ring surrounding the base represents the mineral kingdom. The round bronze disc is covered in a brackish patina and sculpted with different forms of evolution. The bronze garment that is falling away was brush-plated to achieve nacreous colors and was sculpted to feel like a burden. The broken rope represents leaving behind the bindings of lust, anger, greed, hatred, pride, jealousy, and selfishness. The exterior surface of the figure is finished with coarse texture and then gradually becomes finer to portray the purification of consciousness. The butterflies represent transformation and the figure’s expanded capacity for service to Creation. 

Process

The collaboration between the artist and client was crucial to the success of this project as her faith and clear guidance unleashed hidden potentials in the artist. Over 100 people from six states and the District of Columbia helped to create The New Being. Once the design phase was finished, the enlargement, casting, fabrication, and installation phases proceeded with great effort and mandatory collaboration. As much as we built a sculpture, so we built a team. The pressures of this project were impossible: to stay within budget, to safely assemble the parts so that the final product was protected from earthquakes, to deliver into an already finished space, and lastly, to keep everyone performing at a very high level of sculptural excellence because we were asked to make it last 700 years, the same goal for the building. The oppositions forced us to grow beyond our abilities as the sculpture grew. The New Being is the tallest indoor figurative, original sculpture in the Western hemisphere. It is also the largest sculpture to be plated with precious metals both inside and out of its hollow and open form, a recurring feature of Beldio's work.

Additional Information

For more information, images, and a video, see https://www.reunionstudios.com/work#/thenewbeing/