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Rone ‘Empty’ Exhibition Gives Chilling Sendoff to Melbourne’s Lyric Theatre

Curators’ Corner

Rone ‘Empty’ Exhibition Gives Chilling Sendoff to Melbourne’s Lyric Theatre

The haunting allure of abandoned buildings beckons only the brave to venture forth, some in search of treasures left behind, paranormal encounters, or an undisturbed place to sleep. Whether you’re a thrill seeker or a vagabond, you never quite know what you may encounter when you step foot inside a crumbling structure long forgotten, the last of which a masterful work of art.

Melbourne artist Rone was a crucial component to the launch of street art in Australia in the early 2000s as a member of the Everfresh crew. He has since become an internationally recognized painter whose work can be found in galleries worldwide, and internationally in the streets in varying states of decay.

“Finding the friction point between beauty and decay is a thread that runs through much of Rone’s work,” Rone’s bio states. “As a street artist best known for his haunting, stylised [sic] images of women’s faces, he understands better than most that beauty can be fleeting. Seeing his artworks gradually worn away by natural and human elements has taught him to appreciate the unexpected beauty of an image as it begins to blend back into its more prosaic surroundings.”

Rone held his first solo show in two years, “Empty,” in Melbourne this past October inside the Star Lyric Theatre, which was destined for demolition in the following weeks – what better place to showcase the intersection of beauty and decay? Rone selected portraits on paper and canvas for the exhibition, and for the first time included photographic pieces of his famed street art. But the mural that stole the show was a two story painting only recently completed on the back wall of the theatre, which was doomed for destruction only days later.

“A finite lifespan… is what makes street art singular: it blooms suddenly, and then is exposed to the elements,” Rone shared with ABC Australia. “The temporariness is what makes it contemporary, of the moment, and more important or special.”

In a time of compulsive documentation, the fleeting beauty of Rone’s street art is a gentle reminder to appreciate the art of life presently before us. See photos from “Empty” below, and stay tuned to Duggal Connect for ongoing inspiration from around the art world.

Images © Time Out Melbourne