Joshua Schwebel
Between the Deaths


This hand-bound paperback novel is both documentation of a performance and the translated text of d’Entre les Morts, the French book upon which Hitchcock based his movie Vertigo. The work was originally a response to Christof Migone’s curatorial project ‘Fall In,’ and, while certain aspects are specific to that context, the work remains as a conceptual study of impersonation.

D’entre les Morts (Suedes Froides) was written by a duo of French authors under the alias Boileau-Narcejac in 1954. The artist, in an aspect of impersonating the original, took on translating the text from French to English. The translation, however, does not waver from the dictates of the French, resulting in an English text that strongly bears the trace of its absent original, and as such, is strongly poetic. The text is more the documentation of the process or performance of translating than a translation proper.

The full-colour centerfold contains paragraphs taken in a chain of events catalyzed by the artist in response to Vertigo in response to Migone’s curatorial premise in response to the theme of falling. The artist hired two actors. One to impersonate him in his personal and professional life, visiting friends, staying overnight with his family, promoting himself to gallerists. The other actress visited the gallery repeatedly, and as these visits progressed she became a living mirror of a photograph in the gallery. Her performances were documented by the actor impersonating the artist.

ABotM seal of approval

4½ x 7½ in, 190 pages, 2 colour images, 2009
Edition of 30

Available from the artist.

Joshua Schwebel is an emerging conceptual artist. His work, most often site-specific intervention, employs various media and methods. He has exhibited internationally, in Australia and the United States, as well as nationally in galleries and performance festivals across Canada.