March 6 - April 22, 2019

High in the Dandenong Ranges a sprawling art deco mansion lies empty, nature creeping through its crumbling walls. Questions hang heavy in the dense silence, each room strewn with the dusty remains of a fallen dynasty and echoes of romance past. Here not much is certain, except that any signs of life have long since departed. Through a cracked window, you spy the ghost of a smile on the lips of a woman, or do you? You are drawn inside, into a once-magnificent hall. You are now entering Empire.

A multi–sensory installation spread throughout the deserted Burnham Beeches residence 40 kilometres east of Melbourne. Curated over 12 months amid the changing seasons, Rone’s most immersive installation to date sees his hauntingly powerful portraits augmented by sound, light, scent, interior and botanical design elements, in addition to VR and AR technology.

Artist Statement

When I first visited Burnham Beeches

I felt a very strong pull to create something unique. There could be no better opportunity to continue what I started with The Omega Project and answer the question: if a picture is worth a thousand words, what can be communicated through sight, sound, scent, space and texture?

My starting point was the idea of an unsuspecting visitor walking into an abandoned residence and discovering what has been left behind. The remains of lives lived inside the mansion begin to offer pieces of a story, but unlike in a cinema or theatre, there is no linear narrative to follow. Every new visitor has a unique experience in the space.

Walking through rooms that had been shuttered for more than 25 years prompted me to ask what might make someone walk away from an opulent home like this, and I soon began to layer my own ideas about the man and woman of the house against the walls. What memories might have been created within this structure which is slowly being reclaimed by nature? What meaning do once-prized possessions carry when the owner is long forgotten?