Step into the mysterious third floor and ballroom of Flinders Street Station, and discover a forgotten era of Melbourne. Brought to life by internationally renowned artist, Rone, Time will be his most expansive project yet. Explore 11 large-scale installations, meticulously placed around the heritage-listed space. This exhibition, which has been in development for three years, will open to the public on Friday October 28. The season has also extended its season for three months, and will end on Sunday April 23, 2023.
“I can’t wait to finally show people what we’ve been up to for the last few years,” said Rone. “It’s been such a long time coming. We’re used to having a finite time with a space, so to have a whole six months to share with audiences is really rewarding.”
Time by Rone at Flinders Street Station
Melbourne-based artist Tyrone ‘Rone’ Wright has developed an international reputation over the last twenty years. His previous works, Empire (2019), The Omega Project (2017) and Empty (2016) have all transformed derelict and forgotten spaces into something hauntingly beautiful. Time is no exception.
“For years, I had heard all these stories about the mysterious ballroom above Flinders Street Station,” said Rone. “I always wondered how much of it was truth and how much was urban myth. I was desperate to get in there.”
The site, which was once a bustling hub of activity in post-war Melbourne, has been shrouded in secrecy since the 1980s. And when Rone started working on Time in 2019, no one had been up there in decades. While the ballroom has since hosted Patricia Piccinini’s exhibition, A Miracle Constantly Repeated, Rone’s exhibition will take you through a few more undiscovered rooms.
Time is a nostalgic love letter to mid-century Melbourne, and a tribute to Flinders Street Station. The exhibition shines a light on the working class, offering up fictional histories that will take you back in time to post-WWII Melbourne.
There’s 11 distinctly-themed rooms to discover
Rone used photo references from across the decades to create a unique vision for each room. The rooms offer a nod to the building’s history, as well as the industry of Melbourne’s downtown in the mid-1900s. Wander through each space, and see a typing pool, a library, an art room, a classroom and more. Each room references the toil of the working class, and the tools of a forgotten era left behind. The evocative lighting, sound design, and grandeur of the architectural space will leave you pondering the meaning of time and all its possibilities.
“There is so much detail in each room you could never see it all in one visit,” said Rone. “The aim is for audiences to be unsure where the artwork ends and where the original building starts.”
The cavernous ballroom of Flinders Street will greet visitors with a once-resplendent glasshouse that’s more than twelve metres long. Now rusted over and draped in vines, this glasshouse is set to be the star of the exhibition.
Rone’s signature female portraits will also hover hauntingly above each scene. Model Teresa Oman, who has worked with the artist for over a decade, will appear in atmospheric, large-scale portraits.
Time is an open-ended narrative that everyone will experience differently. “There’s no right or wrong way to experience the space, just trails that I hope people will pick up,” said Rone. “The Flinders Street ballroom has been my white whale. The work won’t last – it has been designed with a limited lifespan in mind – but I hope the stories will leave on.”
The exhibition also features collaborative works by sound composer Nick Batterham, set builder director Callum Preston, set director Carly Spooneras, and a team of over 120 creatives and professionals from around Victoria.
Outside of the mysterious third floor, there is a free space for you to get a glimpse of the Time exhibition. A few doors down from the exhibition on Flinders Street, an empty shopfront has been transformed into an area that’s part retail space and part exhibition. The Newsagency installation and Mixed Business Store is free to visit during exhibition hours.
This space offers a curated experience to help visitors discover Melbourne’s underground creative network. It celebrates local talent, with a focus on contemporary art, product and makers.