Mimics 1


A series of 5 photo-etchings, 13 x 17 cm

Facing onto a central landscaped area at Lincoln’s Inn is the UK’s largest concentration of lawyers’ chambers – a labyrinth of period buildings in which legal cases are prepared in close proximity to the courts. Coutts sent each chamber a letter inviting participation in her project. A single sheet of their official headed notepaper was requested on which Coutts proposed drawing a series of mimetic animals with the landscaped area between the chambers as backdrop, arguing that these animals had evolved similar attributes to lawyers in their manipulation of foreground and background, exposure and camouflage.

The paper acquired from five chambers was ultimately not used for this purpose (see Mimics 2). Instead, Coutts made a series of photo-etchings based on digital collages of found images of mimetic animals, fish, birds and insects occupying the central landscaped area that the lawyers move through every day. The oriental flying gurnard, sun bittern, owl butterflies, serval and four-eyed butterfly fish imaged in the series, all display eye spot markings (or ocelli) in addition to their own, persuading predators or prey that they are potentially not one, but two animals (often of different species and sizes) housed in a single body.

See related series Mimics 2 and Mimics 3 and ‘Mimesis, Mimikry, Mimese’ in the journal Tierstudien 11/2017