In the lead-up to its highly-anticipated conversion into a luxury hotel, the 1930s Burnham Beeches has been transformed by a Melbourne street artist Tyrone “Rone” Wright into an exhibition of beauty and decay
Melbourne street artist Tyrone “Rone” Wright has taken over the historic Burnham Beeches mansion in the heart of Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges, creating a stunning and unique art installation that has to be seen to be believed.
The property, which in its heyday was a much-admired art deco style hotel that hosted the likes of the Prince and Princess of Wales, has been laying dormant for the best part of 25 years and fallen into disrepair. Street artist Rone, meanwhile, is known for his artworks found in abandoned houses and venues in Melbourne’s inner-north, as well as on the Silo Art Trail—Australia’s largest outdoor gallery. His artworks depict haunting, stylised portraits of women’s faces and are aimed at finding the friction between beauty and decay, and Burnham Beeches’ old, 1930s bones were an ideal canvas for the artist’s most recent epic art installation.
‘EMPIRE’ depicts a moving scene where it appears as though residents of the mansion have abruptly up and left, their belongings still laying where they were left decades earlier. By adding another level of decay to the already dilapidated venue, Rone created the feeling of a home that has been abandoned and left to rot, contrasted with hauntingly beautiful murals of a woman’s face. The project is the largest Rone has ever undertaken.
He achieved a state of extreme distress and decay in the old mansion using new techniques developed to create the appearance of mould, chipped walls and dust-covered surfaces. Styling, sound effects and even scents were then added to each room to evoke a different feeling within the viewer.
Rone’s muse for the project is Australian actress Lily Sullivan, known for her roles in Mental and Picnic at Hanging Rock.
Following EMPIRE’s six-week run, Burnham Beeches will undergo a much-awaited transformation into a luxury hotel by entrepreneur and celebrity chef Shannon Bennett and partner Adam Garrison. The 1930s mansion was purchased in 2014 by the pair, who plan to create a five star property featuring an emu farm, a piggery, trufferie and restaurants, a brewery, shops, cafés, a spa, a cooking school, group accommodations, and even an outdoor cinema/concert facilities and more.
Burnham Beeches is expected to be one of Victoria’s most sought after destination hotels on its completion, with EMPIRE set to raise awareness of the Dandenong Ranges region among local and international tourists, and serve as a teaser for the hotel that is yet to open.
Peter Bingeman, CEO of Visit Victoria said EMPIRE is another feather in the cap for the burgeoning arts scene around regional Victoria. “The public interest in seeing urban contemporary art of this nature applied at such scale has been proven with projects such as Benalla Wall to Wall Festival and the Silo Art Trail. We are all really excited about this one and thrilled to be in a position to support our home-grown talent.”
Simon O’Callaghan, CEO of Yarra Ranges Tourism added that The Rone and Burnham Beeches 1930s mansion collaboration in the Dandenong Ranges is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “Projects such as this truly highlight why this region is such a vibrant, creative destination that inspires and stimulates all the senses,” he said.
The EMPIRE exhibition will open this Wednesday on March 6th for a six-week period. Tickets will be $15 for adults and $10 for concessions which can be booked online or at the door. There will be eight sessions a day, with one day a week will be dedicated to school groups. There will also be a few private dinners held with catering by the Vue Group.