In Arts + Entertainment

Visit Victoria’s Hauntingly Beautiful House-Turned-Art Exhibition

It’s been vacant for more than two decades, but recently received a redecoration courtesy of famed street artist RONE.

A 1930s art deco mansion just outside Melbourne has got everyone talking.

The building had been vacant for more than two decades, up until recently when world-famous Melbourne street artist RONE (Tyrone Wright) transformed it into an eerie installation.

The RONE exhibition Empire is part installation, part exhibition with some virtual and augmented reality elements thrown in.

The Burnham Beeches mansion is located in Sherbrooke and has a grand history as a much-admired hotel for guests that once included the Prince and Princess of Wales.

rone exhibition

RONE: Empire is housed in a 1930s art deco mansion just outside Melbourne. Credit: RONE: Empire

It’s fallen into disrepair over the last 25 years until it was purchased by Adam Garrison and Shannon Bennett of The Vue Group with ambitious plans for a luxury hotel, an emu farm, piggery, trufferie and restaurants, brewery, a spa, and cooking school.

With approvals for development in place, handing the property over to RONE for the six-week period will be its last hurrah before construction commences.

Visitors to the mansion, located in Dandenong Ranges, 90 minutes from Melbourne’s CBD, can expect to be immersed in an experience that combines art, sound, and scent.

rone exhibition

It took Melbourne street artist RONE (Tyrone Wright) a year to complete the project. Credit: RONE: Empire

RONE is known for his work found on Melbourne’s city streets, as well as on adorning farm silos on the regional Victorian Silo Art Trail. His works can also be seen on buildings in London, Paris, San Francisco and Hong Kong.

Empire is the artist’s biggest work yet. It depicts haunting portraits set among distress and decay. Rooms are designed to evoke different feelings, and connections between new and old, and beauty and ruin.

“When I first came up to check out the building, I wasn’t sure what to expect,” says RONE.

“Once I got inside and realised that I had free rein on an entire mansion my mind was blown with ideas of what could be possible. It was quite overwhelming.

“I knew from the beginning that this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to create something really incredible,” he says.

The project took him a year to create. He says he was careful not to dictate the narrative, instead opting to encourage audiences to ask their own questions and create a storyline based on their own perception and experience.

Empire also includes a virtual reality experience where visitors walk through RONE’s studio as he offers insight into his process.

rone exhibition

The exhibition includes a VR experience where visitors walk through RONE’s studio and hear about his process. Credit: RONE: Empire

“I want people to walk in and feel like they can explore the possibilities of what might or might not have happened here,” he says.

“I love exploring the concept of how and why something so magnificent can be left to decline into ruin. Empire is about offering audiences the chance to create their own story; to temporarily transport their minds to another place, another time.

“It’s not often that you can be so fully immersed in another era like this. It’s almost like we’ve discovered a forgotten time capsule and cracked it open for the world to see.”

Empire is the latest offering in Victoria’s burgeoning regional arts scene. It gives visitors yet another reason to venture outside the Melbourne CBD.

Tickets and further information can be found here: tickets.r-o-n-e.com.

Published 08 March, 2019