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“Invisible” art exhibition to open at Abertay

26 August 2013

A new exhibition of “invisible” art will go on display at Abertay University’s Hannah Maclure Centre this Thursday (August 29).

Proof - a collection of artworks created by multi-disciplinary artist Beatrice Haines – was inspired by the artist’s residency in the University’s ground-breaking forensic science department this summer, where she worked alongside Dr Kevin Farrugia.

Using the techniques forensic scientists employ to piece together what has happened at the scene of a crime, Haines’ exhibition brings the history of objects collected in and around Dundee back to life, revealing their secrets and telling their stories.

The exhibition includes sculptures, etchings, videos, and digital prints, as well as an installation in which the viewer gets the chance to play detective, entering a darkened room with a torch and uncovering the “evidence”.

One of the main attractions is a series of “invisible” drawings Haines has created, which will be revealed by the artist as the exhibition progresses.

These will be pieced together each day to create one large work of art that will only become truly visible at the end of the exhibition.

Proof is part of the first-ever Print Festival Scotland - a celebration of the cross-disciplinary nature of print – and is a fascinating exploration of the way in which printmaking and forensic science are interlinked.

One of the framed pieces of art, for example, is a digital print of magnified fingerprint dust powder, which reveals details not visible to the naked eye.

Speaking about her work and what inspires her, Beatrice Haines says:

“My work has always been inspired by forensics and looking at the traces left behind by people, whether in the form of their fingerprints, their clothing or objects they’ve discarded.

“Perhaps surprisingly, it’s objects and their history that have always interested me the most, because finding out where an object’s been, and who’s held it and valued it, acts as a kind of portrait of the person who once owned it. So in my art, that’s what I try to get across – that these discarded things have interesting stories to tell.

“Part of the exhibition is a series of comparison prints made from objects I found while I was exploring Dundee. In the forensics lab, they have a comparison microscope for comparing different kinds of fibres where you can see a double-image as you look through the viewfinder.

“So one of the things I’ve done is take an old football I found in Dundee, and one I found in London - where I come from - cut the seams and laid them out flat. Then, using a forensic solution that picks up traces of mud, I’ve put them through a printing press, which has revealed all the scuff marks and tells the story of what happened to these footballs before they were abandoned.

“It was a bit of an experiment really, because I wanted to reflect the experimental nature of the work that the researchers in the forensics lab here at Abertay carry out, but I’m really pleased with the way it’s turned out.

“I love science, and I really hope that the way I’ve presented the things I’ve learnt about during this residency will capture people’s imaginations. My hope is that the way things change as they’re being viewed will make people leave feeling like they’ve witnessed a scientific experiment, and that they’ll feel inspired about science, and hungry to know more.”

Clare Brennan, Curator of the Hannah Maclure Centre, explains further the motivation behind Beatrice’s work and why she was chosen for the residency:

“In the same way that forensic scientists piece together the movements and actions of those involved in a crime by gathering and analysing evidence, Beatrice is interested in documenting the traces that people leave behind them as they go about their daily lives.

“This is something that runs through all of her work, and was sparked by the death of her grandmother in 2006 when she became fascinated by the many cherished possessions she left behind. Each object acquired a poignancy and meaning that had previously not existed and, although void of life, her grandmother’s house took on the role of a museum of personal antiquities which acted as proof of her existence.

“Because she wanted to hold onto the memory of her grandmother, she recorded as many objects and traces of her life as she could – scuffs on the carpet, tea stains, strands of hair left in her comb…

“Since this experience, her artwork has been heavily influenced by human traces and, although humans themselves are often absent from her work, the objects they leave behind them act like forensic evidence and tell their story for them.

“This obsessive need to record traces and seek meaning in them coincides with the very nature of forensics, and is one of the main reasons we chose Beatrice for this residency.

“At the Hannah Maclure Centre we try to use art as an alternative means of engaging people with scientific research and, because of the immersive nature of this exhibition, I’m confident it’s one that everyone will enjoy.”

The exhibition is free and will run from August 29 - September 2 in the Hannah Maclure Centre. All are welcome.


For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron T: 01382 308935 M: 07972172158 E:

Notes to Editors:

  • The residency that Beatrice Haines was selected for was offered jointly by Abertay University’s School of Contemporary Sciences, the Hannah Maclure Centre – which is the Abertay University’s art gallery and exhibition space – and the art collective Yuck ‘n Yum.
  • Abertay University is at the forefront of forensics research and has made a number of breakthroughs in this field over recent years. Earlier in the year, tor example, the University published the UK’s first academic paper on how to recover latent fingerprints from foods.
  • Yuck 'n Yum has been sponsored by the Hannah Maclure Centre for the past few years and is making waves in the arts world.
  • A wide and exciting range of some 40 exhibitions, workshops and performances have been co-ordinated as part of Print Festival Scotland (PFS).

Venues range from internationally recognised contemporary art galleries, to local artist-run initiatives in alternative public spaces.

PFS is a celebration of the cross-disciplinary nature of print and fits well with Abertay’s own interdisciplinary approach: the Hannah Maclure Centre is part of Abertay’s Institute of Arts, Media and Computer Games, and the Division of Environment and Forensic Sciences where Dr Farrugia works is part of the University’s School of Contemporary Sciences.

  • PFS runs alongside the world-renowned IMPACT8 International Printmaking Conference, which is an international forum for print artists and artisans, academics and educators, theorists and critics, curators and collectors, and suppliers of printmaking materials and presses. It will take place in Dundee between August 28 and September 1.

The conference is held every two years, with previous editions having taken place in Melbourne, Bristol, Tallinn, Berlin, Poznan, Cape Town, and Helsinki.

The theme of this years conference is ‘Borders and Crossings: the artist as explorer’ and is intended to celebrate the practice, concept and application of print and printmaking in its widest possible constituency.

  • There is a strong printmaking heritage in Dundee: the publishing company DC Thomson has been printing newspapers and magazines in the city for over 100 years – and it is from the printing industry that the techniques print artists use originate.

Over the centuries, as new inventions and developments were made in the printing industry, artists adopted and experimented with these techniques to make works of art.

Screenprinting, for example – made famous by Andy Warhol’s pop art prints – was initially used for on printing cartons and boxes.

Etching – used to decorate guns, armour, cups and plates – was adopted by artists such as Rembrandt, Goya and Castiglione.

Woodblock printing, used by artists such as Edvard Munch, was originally used for printing the letters in books and newspapers.

And lithography, which was used by Toulouse-Lautrec for his iconic posters of Parisian life, was also originally used as a method of commercial printing.

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