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RPW critiqued on Sleepwalker【一人一點藝評社 One Point Critique Society】

The Vital Role of Artist Branding through Exhibitions

In the vibrant art scene of Hong Kong, where numerous galleries regularly host exhibitions by global artists, the experience of exploring new artworks is undeniably fascinating. However, amidst this creative abundance, I've often found it challenging to recall the names of newer artists or those hailing from distant corners of the world, even if their work is captivating at the time. I recently attended the "Sleepwalker" exhibition by the Japanese artist Takeru Machida, hosted at Ztoryteller Gallery, and in my view, this exhibition perfectly emphasized the significance of artist branding through exhibitions.

One of the key facets that emerged during my visit was the realization that understanding the stories behind artworks is perhaps the most effective means to bridge the gap between the artist and the visitor. Upon closer observation, several elements came to light that I believe have effectively facilitated a deeper connection between the artist and the audience, particularly for newcomers to the art world.

In the realm of artistic consistency, this aspect was remarkably well-exemplified within the exhibition. Despite variations in media and color palettes, Takeru Machida's unmistakable artistic style, characterized by bold lines and comic-inspired characters, consistently has been the focus of each artwork. This not only cultivated a distinct signature for the artist but also enabled new visitors to recognize his work, even after the exhibition, thanks to its straightforward yet impactful imagery. On the other hand, the exhibition has been curated into distinct sections, each dedicated to a specific theme, providing the audience with a comprehensive understanding of the underlying concept. For example, one section delves into Machida's contemplation of conflicting emotions related to solitude and social interaction, while another explores his vivid and unconventional dreams. The presence of distinct sections, in my opinion, added depth to the artist’s creative expression, creating a more layered and enriching experience for visitors.

Speaking of the thematic divisions, I must say, the exhibition design is brilliantly fun and creative. The artist deliberately selected a lifelike and serene setting of a bedroom to correspond with his theme of lucid dreaming, considering his substantial time spent in bed as the primary wellspring of inspiration for his artistic creations. This arrangement invited visitors to not only figuratively step into the artist's shoes but, quite literally, step into the artist's bed, thereby immersing themselves in his unique perspective. Conversely, there was a desk adorned with rows of music tapes and such revelation prompted me to recognize that a subtle yet soothing background music had been playing consistently throughout the exhibition. This was, in fact, again the artist's choice. This links back to how it’s offering the visitors a closer glimpse of who he is—highlighting his aesthetic inclinations and emphasizing his sincerity in preparing an immersive experience for the audience, ultimately enhancing his brand as an artist. Notably, the notebook positioned on the desk was intended for visitors to jot down their dreams. The visitors learn about the artist's dreams through his works, while he, in turn, expresses a curiosity about our dreams by encouraging us to document them in his diary. To me, it almost feels like I am having a friendly conversation with the artist and it hugely enhances my sense of connection with the artist.

Takeru Machida's "Sleepwalker" exhibition encapsulates the essence of the artist's style and vision while leaving a lasting impression. In a broader context, this exhibition serves as a powerful example of how artist branding can be effectively achieved through curation, thematic structure, immersion, and interactivity, underscoring the pivotal role of exhibitions in communicating an artist's identity.

Images were taken by the writer. @206.4 - SLEEPWALKER | Solo Exhibition by Takeru Machida 展覽日期:13 - 27/10 展覽地點:ZtoryTeller Gallery | 1/F, 2A Second Street, Sai Ying Pun. Hong Kong Instagram專頁 Facebook專頁:ZtoryTeller Gallery



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