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Frozen in time – RONE takes over Flinders Street Station

Frozen in time – RONE takes over Flinders Street Station

Frozen in time – RONE takes over Flinders Street Station

The Glasshouse, photo by Rob Heneghan

Melbourne artist RONE creates a time capsule of mid-century Melbourne with an immersive installation in the infamous Flinders Street Station ballroom. ‘Time’ is now open, running until April 2023.

Pushing the boundaries of art, installation and museum, Melbourne artist RONE has undertaken an ambitious project that sees Flinders Street Station’s secret upper levels transformed into a time capsule.

With 11 rooms in total, each space has been painstakingly turned into an extraordinary installation that transports viewers to another time and place. Appearing as if every object has been left behind for 60-odd years, each room is themed around what life was like in mid-century Melbourne.

The Pharmacy

Inspired by the post-WWII blue-collar workers that would have travelled through the station to work in nearby factories, offices and shops; each space brings history to life in the form of a typing pool, classrooms, a work room full of sewing machines, a mail room, and more.

RONE referenced historic photos to create the vision, which is a nod to the work of the era, but also the building’s history.

The exhibition perfectly captures the labour and technology from the time, showcasing it as if it has sat abandoned for decades – chairs strewn, cobwebs collecting, newspapers dated to 1954 pinned to the windows. Each room is accompanied by a signature painting of a girl’s face, a model that the artist has worked with many times before. The combination is haunting and transportive, where the line between what is art and what may have already been there is blurred, which is precisely how the artist intended it.

The Mail Room, photo by Rob Heneghan

“There is so much detail in each room you could never see it all in one visit,” says RONE. “The aim is for audiences to be unsure where the artwork ends and where the original building starts. I like the idea that someone could walk in here and think, ‘He’s just done a painting on a wall,’ and that everything else they see is a legitimate, original part of the building. And perhaps they’ll think it’s kind of disrespectful that I’ve done that, that I’ve disturbed this space,” he continues. “For me, that’s the ultimate end goal – it means it has worked.”

Time also features collaborative works by sound composer Nick Batterham, set builder director Callum Preston, set decorator Carly Spooner, as well as a team of more than 120 Victorian creatives and professionals to help realise every element of the exhibition’s vision.

Time is running until April 2023, tickets can be booked here

Photography by RONE, unless otherwise stated.

The Switchboard, photo by Rob Heneghan

The Library

The Work Room

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Aleesha Callahan is the editor of Habitus. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Aleesha seeks out the unique people, projects and products that define the Indo Pacific region. Aleesha was previously the editor of Indesignlive.com and has written and contributed to various publications and brands in her 10 years in the architecture and design industry, bringing intimate insight to her stories having first trained and practised as an interior designer. Her passion for mid-century design and architecture began while living and working in Berlin.