Double Binds #1 (Green s), 2021. Oil on primed paper, 70 x 50 cm paper size. Annika Koops
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Annika Koops, Ann Debono and Daichi Takagi Gardener’s Ellipse 30 March - 20 April 2024
Double Binds #1 (Green s), 2021. Oil on primed paper, 70 x 50 cm paper size. Annika Koops

The gardener’s ellipse is a method for constructing elliptical garden beds involving dragging a stake through the soil to inscribe the perimeter of an ellipse. This method tangibly realises crisp geometric ideality in the grubby, unformed fundament of reality. Ideal and real, abstract and figurative: these are the axes that map the field of painting. Gardener’s Ellipse brings together three painters whose practices oscillate between these poles.
Ellipses are useful for painters: they describe the circular mouths of vessels, such as vases and cups seen from an oblique angle. Viewed obliquely, these mouths become eyes that gaze back from the painting and conceal the whole volumes they open upon. The ellipse is a portal that is slightly turned from us; witnessable, but not passable: the index of a known unknown.
The picture plane can be thought of as the point of tangency between the real world and the virtual pictorial zone: this show imagines this zone as a garden. All images open onto this garden. The garden is subtended by an uncanny physics that can hold eccentric and contradictory coordinations between mark and meaning. Painters do not make the rules of the garden, they are subjected to it. Prudent painters do not make assertions about the garden’s properties with their paintings, they merely test propositions and routes.
This show brings together the work of Annika Koops, Daichi Takagi and Ann Debono. This will be the first time Japanese artist Daichi Takagi’s paintings have been exhibited in Australia. Gardener’s Ellipse is curated by Ann Debono and will be accompanied by a zine/essay by Ann about movies, gardens, geometry and painting.

Curated by Ann Debono
Photo courtesy of Matthew Stanton

Annika Koops is a Naarm (Melbourne) based artist working between painting and digital media. Recent work charts the porosity of boundaries between physical and virtual spaces, objects, and persona. Her works consider how subjectivity may be distilled and reformatted in the digital realm. Current work contrasts imaging technologies associated with biometrics with painterly practice to creatively interpret how bodily traces operate in cultural and economic fields.
She has been the recipient of a number of significant grants and prizes including Australia Council Arts Projects for Individuals and Groups, Australia Council British School, Rome Residency, The Keith and Elisabeth Murdoch Traveling Fellowship, and an Australian Postgraduate Award. She has been invited to participate in international exhibitions such as Roman Remains, Transition Gallery, London, and the inaugural Bristol Biennial as well as having exhibited at a range of public institutions, artist-run spaces and private galleries in Australia.
She has undertaken National and International residencies, most recently as a visiting fellow with UNSW Art and Design (2020). Her work is included in significant Australian public collections such as Art Bank, MONA Hobart and The University of Melbourne Collection. She is represented by Bett Gallery, Hobart.

For Ann Debono, representational paintings are uniquely paradoxical objects. Her paintings meld realism with abstraction to explore the condition of an image as it stands in relation to the visible world. For Debono, visible phenomena around her seem to fluctuate between two poles: of latency and potency, silence and speech, illegibility and legibility, without ever touching and fusing with either extreme. Her choice of imagery exemplifies this fluctuation: a shattered window-pane, photos from a book or marks on a concrete footpath, all vying for precedence. As the viewer’s eye navigates these compositions the artist questions their reflections on what is significant in the world. Debono’s paintings also provide a glimpse into the artists process of viewing, and the aesthetic potentiality of imagery she observes in her everyday environment. These paintings attempt to transmit an image of the world as a field of infinite regression of images behind images through which some spectral ‘real’ is evacuating. Ann Debono is represented by Sutton Gallery, Melbourne.

Daichi Takagi was born in 1982 in Gifu, Japan, and is currently living and working in Kanagawa. He received his B.F.A and M.F.A in Painting from Tama Art University, Tokyo. He received a Japanese Government Oversea Research Program Grant from the Agency for Cultural Affairs and resided in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in September 2018.
Takagi has presented his work in: solo show “2010-2022” at KAYOKOYUKI / Tokyo, 2023; “Borrowed landscape” at Blum & Poe / Tokyo, 2023; “NEW ORDER” at ECHO / Cologne, 2023; Solo Show at Ramiken, New York, 2022; “DOMANI: The Art of Tomorrow 2021” at The National Art Center / Tokyo, 2021; “Daichi Takagi, Lucia Vidales, Hiroka Yamashita” at Taka Ishii Gallery / Tokyo, 2020; Solo show “Intuition” at TIME & STYLE Amsterdam / Netherlands, 2019; “Contemporary Art Experimental Exhibition -Perspectives (1)” at Intermediatheque, Tokyo, 2017; solo show “Periphery” at Foundation B.a.d, Rotterdam, 2016; “Footprints” at Museum Haus Kasuya, Kanagawa, 2016; “COOL INVITATIONS 2” at XYZ Collective, Tokyo, 2015; “The Way of Painting” at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo, 2014. Daichi Takagi is represented by KAYOKOYUKI, Tokyo and Ramiken, New York.