Saskia Olde Wolbers

Tate Britain

Placebo, 2002, a DVD projection by the London-based Dutch artist Saskia Olde Wolbers, is loosely based on the notorious case of Jean-Claude Romand, a Frenchman who masqueraded as a physician and World Health Organization researcher for many years before murdering his family when his fiction was about to be exposed—the same fait divers that also inspired two films, Laurent Cantet’s L’Emploi du temps (Time Out, 2001) and Nicole Garcia’s L’Adversaire (2002), itself taken from Emmanuel Carrère’s 2000 novel of the same name. Placebo’s first-person voiceover narrative emanates from within the dim semiconsciousness of a comatose woman lying in intensive care next to the lover with whom she was trapped in a terrible car crash. The hospital is the same one where the lover had worked as a surgeon, having transferred there, he claimed, from the hospital where the woman worked as a nurse. Finally on

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