In Depth… Jat Bains

Jat Bains has created a number of works that deal with ideas of organisation and categorisation, themes that fit particularly well with book forms. Her Length Book shows an attempt to understand space and distance on a personal level, counteracting feelings of smallness and insignificance by using pieces of her own body as a unit of measurement.

By only showing bodies in parts, she removes humanity from the photographs and becomes a part of the scenery. In identifying herself (and others)  as a unit of measurement she shows a powerful desire to see the world in an objective and rational manner, but there’s a childlike playfulness to the images of bare hands and feet. It’s serious photographic subject matter for grown ups – urban landscapes, parks, churches, building sites – treated like toys.

Other book-shaped works include this set of accordion books documenting views the artist saw from her window while making a journey on the London Underground.

This is another work that plays with ideas of organisation and measurement in a way that fits really well with the book format. The windows of the tube are used as an objective framing device, providing a unifying shape to the images and a chaotic, random selection of content. Playing with the passivity of letting machines dictate the subject matter of the work has resulted in an ironically gritty and punk aesthetic, disguised by neat, clean covers.

There’s a lot more on her website and in addition to photo work, Jat works with illustration and graphic design. I’m excited to see what she’ll be bringing to the Book Arts Fayre in February!


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