University of Dundee University of Dundee
Text only

3 September 2009

The face of evil reconstructed in Dundee

A 3D recreation of the face of notorious serial killer William Burke is one of the exhibitions at this year’s Dundee Masters Show.

More than 50 students from Masters courses at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, part of the University of Dundee, will be exhibiting at the event, which takes place across three venues from September 12th – 19th.

Bijan Moghbel’s project saw him produce a computerised depiction of the face of evil – Burke, along with associate William Hare killed at least 16 people in the West Port area of Edinburgh between 1827-28 and sold the bodies to Dr Robert Knox for dissection. After the Masters Show, the exhibition will be permanently housed at the University of Edinburgh’s Anatomy Museum.

Bijan (26), a graduate of the MSc Forensic Art course, explained his motivation for recreating the face of Burke, who was executed following testimony against him by his former partner.

“I was really interested in the whole history behind Burke, and the relationship between his crimes and anatomy, in that he sold the corpses for medical dissection,” he said.

“I am more interested in the facial reconstruction and depiction aspect of the course, rather than the police forensics side of it, which is why I chose this as my project.”

“The depiction was completed using Burke's life and death masks as reference, and I conducted extensive research on early nineteenth-century costumes and men's hairstyles to improve the accuracy of the depiction.”

The Centre for Forensic and Medical Art is a dynamic collaboration between the College of Life Sciences and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. It is at the forefront of research with widespread applications in the fields of human identification, archaeological investigation, medical illustration and museum and media exhibition.

Bijan is originally from Switzerland and first moved to Dundee – where his mother was born – five years ago to undertake his undergraduate degree in Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone.

His depiction of William Burke is just one of the displays at the Dundee Masters Show 2009, which highlights work from some of the UK’s most exciting and innovative arts programmes.

A range of conceptual, thought provoking and vibrant exhibitions that push the boundaries of art will be on display.

Jeanette Paul, Head of Postgraduate Studies at Duncan of Jordanstone, said this year’s Masters Show once again demonstrates the rich diversity of the work that students undertake at postgraduate level in art, media and design.

“The creative practice has a strong research foundation which infuses the work resulting in challenging, innovative work.

“From multimedia and time-based work through art installations and painting to innovative design solutions to contemporary issues, this Masters Show exhibits an incredible range of strong ideas and an enormous amount of talent.”

The Master Show 2009 celebrations start on Thursday, September 10th, with ‘The End of Design’, a provocative and visionary lecture focussing on design in the 21st century. It will be delivered by Professors Tom Inns and Mike Press, both internationally acknowledged writers, researchers and broadcasters on design, from Duncan of Jordanstone.

The lecture accompanies the Masters Show, and takes place at the University’s Dalhousie Building from 6pm onwards.

A preview evening for students and guests takes place the following evening and the show opens to the public on Saturday, September 12th. It will display work from the Design, Media Arts and Imaging, Fine Art, Forensic Art and Medical Art Masters courses.

The exhibition will take place across three venues - Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design; the Centrespace at the Visual Research Centre, Dundee Contemporary Arts; and Generator Projects, Mid Wynd Dundee.

The preview takes place from 6pm - 8pm on Friday evening, and the exhibition is open to the public, free of charge, between 11am and 5pm from Saturday onwards.

More information is available by visiting the Masters Show website

Tickets for ‘The End of Design’ are available through the online store.

For media enquiries contact:

Grant Hill
Press Officer
University of Dundee

Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN
TEL: 01382 384768
MOBILE: 07854 953277