The Vertigo Project
Produced with the full co-operation of the Hitchcock estate, Curran first edited select frames from a rare original Technicolor dye imbibition print of Vertigo, then printed them using the same dye transfer process by which the movie was made. Editing twenty still images from the hundreds of thousands of frames that make up the film, Curran switches from moving pictures to still prints to create a work that transcends mediums in its own right.
Vertigo was first released on the May 9, 1958 and is now largely recognized as Hitchcock’s greatest achievement. The story follows a police detective (Jimmy Stewart) who falls obsessively in love with the woman he has been paid to follow (Kim Novak). Suffering from traumatic vertigo, Stewart fails to prevent Novak’s character from jumping to her death. Stewart then spirals into an ever-darker state of despair until a chance sighting of a girl who resembles Novak reignites his passion and unravels a complex web of deceit and crime.
The film’s underlying themes of voyeurism, eroticism and dark emotions are delicately portrayed with great intelligence through Hitchcock’s rigorously composed shots while his use of revelatory color moves the story in masterfully layered compositions.
Recognized by film critics and connoisseurs for the care with which each scene was composed, the single frames and set-ups of Vertigo reveal Hitchcock’s aesthetic not just as cinematic but as photographic, prefiguring and influencing the work of contemporary artists from William Eggleston to Cindy Sherman. Brought to new life in Curran’s richly luminous dye transfer prints, The Vertigo Project is a fitting 60th anniversary tribute to the film.