In 2013, Cultural Documents commissioned artist Danny Holcroft to make a new series of works which explore stories of migration of the people of central Italy from the 1860s to today. Danny used dialogue, drawings, video, sculptures and performance to develop his series entitled ‘Lost in Translation’.
The works reveal the historical provenance of some of the stories behind society’s cultural symbols, and how these have emerged from the travels and integration of people as they migrate around the world.
As research for the works, Danny undertook a series of residential visits in Cultural Documents’ artists’ house and workshop in the village of Filignano in central Italy where, for over one hundred years, people have traveled to work between rural and metropolitan locations, as far away as St. Petersburg, Philadelphia USA, Scotland and elsewhere in Europe.
Danny’s initial approach was to spend time each day getting to know the place by sitting, making a drawing of the view from each park-bench in the village. In doing so, Danny gradually started to feel the rhythm of everyday life, and to get to know some of the people who passed-by. Day by day, he developed a memory-archive informed by the stories of journey and encounters, and the visual characteristics of the place. He soon recognised the constant shared by both the stories and images: the need to address the legal and physical obstacles which determine the limits of authority, ownership and entitlement in every situation and territory.
From these first drawings, Danny experimented with the idea of the railing as a platform for the objects he would make to represent the stories, and the patterns used in many test-pieces and moquettes later became developed into completed works in the series ‘Lost in Translation’.
During the two-year period that he has so far worked on ‘Lost in Translation’ the stories became tempered by Danny’s limited understanding of the Italian language, and filtered through his memory and imagination. The resulting drawings, paintings, sculptures, performance and film reveal rich histories of translation, transition and change enabled as people integrate and assimilate into new environments, societies and cultures.
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Lost in Translation is commissioned by Cultural Documents
and is kindly funded and sponsored by