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Breaking: Rone's next installation will be in the Flinders Street Station Ballroom

The prolific street artist is taking over the space in October with his new immersive exhibition 'Time'

Written by
Bianca O'Neill

Melbourne street artist Rone will be taking over the Flinders Street Station Ballroom in October this year. Following a successful season of Patricia Piccinini's hyperrealist installation, 'A Miracle Constantly Repeated', which was part of this year's Rising program, it is uber popular street artist Rone who will be the second artist in residence in the enigmatic ballroom space above Flinders Street Station.

The immersive installation, titled 'Time', will encompass 11 themed rooms, all featuring Rone's distinctive female figures accompanied by meticulously recreated period objects by interior set decorator Carly Spooner and a set building team led by Callum Preston. Evocative lighting and sound design by composer Nick Batterham will bring it all together to create a haunting reflection on a long-forgotten era when Melbourne's most mysterious heritage building hosted more than just a train station.

Rone's upcoming exhibition 'Time'
Photograph: Rone

In a chat with the artist (real name Tyrone Wright) yesterday, he told Time Out that the new exhibition has been three years in the making. Battling heritage overlays, government red tape, the strict requirements of international consortium Metro (who own the building), and all the restrictions that came with the pandemic, 'Time' hasn't been an easy ride for Wright, who calls the Flinders Street Station Ballroom his "white whale".

"The pandemic actually caused the entire thing to collapse – I lost all my funding and had to start again, essentially. But before that I had scanned the building using a 3D scanner, so I had the space to work in digitally. During Covid I was able to basically sit there and... build everything in a virtual space."

"[The ballroom] is part of the mythology of Melbourne, like an urban legend... it's long been forgotten, and no longer celebrated. It's kind of beautiful and sad, and quite poignant to a lot of my work."

Over the past 20 years, Rone has built an impressive international reputation for his immersive large scale artworks, often staged in abandoned buildings. In the past, he has taken over a decaying weatherboard cottage for his show 'Omega'; the Alphington Paper Mill for extremely limited viewings of his collection of works, 'Alpha'; and the Star Lyric Theatre building in Fitzroy for his show, 'Empty'. In 2019 he even popped up in an abandoned 1930s mansion for 'Empire'.

Rone, Melbourne street artist, poses in a crumbling room
Photograph: Tony Mott

It makes sense that the ballroom would be next on his list, particularly considering its status as a historical, cavernous architectural space that has been abandoned for decades, only opening recently for Piccinini's installation. Rone also secured a federal government arts grant in February last year, worth $1.86 million – one of the largest in Australian arts history.

Tickets go on sale for Rone's highly anticipated installation 'Time' at 10am (AEST) today, Thursday September 29. Stay tuned for our in-depth interview with Rone in the coming week.

Looking for more art? Check out our list of the best exhibitions this month, some of the best free exhibitions in Melbourne on now, and our very own short history of Melbourne street art.

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