Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Forensics: the anatomy of crime

This is a fascinating exhibition at the Wellcome Collection, much of it dealt with the science and history of forensic examinations, which was interesting, but I also enjoyed the artistic elements too. In particular Frances Glessner Lee’s miniature dioramas of crime scenes ‘The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained death’ which were made as teaching aids for detectives. Alphonse Bertillon’s photographs of victims were harrowing yet artistic as he used a very high tripod to capture them creating an unusual ‘God’s eye view’ of the crime scene. In contrast to these real images, Corinne May Botz had recreated and photographed crime scenes using dolls as victims, her ‘Dark bathroom’ was quite unsettling. Perhaps because the images were staged it was easier to examine them closely and take in their full power rather than exploiting the images of the real victims. Jenny Holzer’s ‘Lustmord’ was a very dramatic and moving installation protesting about the use of rape as a weapon of war in the Balkan conflict. It consisted of a collection of disinterred bones laid out in rows on a table, many of which were labelled with the name of the victim, the perpetrator and an observer – a powerful reminder that forensic science can retrieve evidence and claim justice for the dead. The exhibition runs until 21 June and is well worth a visit.

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