I Made Them Run Away

by Martina Zanin

‘It was summer and as many children I spent my days in a summer camp. One night I came home very excited and after having dinner with my grandmother I went upstairs, where my mother and I lived, with the intention of going to sleep. As I entered I saw my mother and a man sitting on the couch watching television. My mother asked me how my day was and I couldn’t stop myself to show both of them what I had learned. I started dancing and singing in front of the television for about 10 minutes, until the man interrupted my performance by saying “It’s late, I’d better go.”, followed by my mother’s withering gaze towards me. Once greeted the man, my mother came back in the house yelling at me: “How could you possibly make them all run away?”.’ (Martina Zanin) I Made Them Run Away is a multi-layered story weaving together family images and photographs with texts written by the artist’s mother. It brings together memories from the past and feelings of the present to investigate the dynamics of relationships – the need for attention, the expectations that cause disillusionment, insecurity and judgment. Central themes include love, fantasy, illusion, and identity. Shifting between the different points of view, Zanin depicts the recurring complicated triangle relationship between she, her mother and the “man”, not constant, mostly represented as an absence in the work. Fantasizing about a man she was never able to have, the artist’s mother wrote her thoughts and desires in a diary entitled Letters to a Man I Have Never Had. The poetical and wistful writing, clash with the torn family images, of which her mother has preserved only her figure, or the one of the daughter, tearing off all her ex-boyfriends, creating objects saturated with anger and loneliness. Every other picture is the artist’s inner reconstruction and expression of past feelings and sensations that become apparent in the present. I Made Them Run Away is a dialogue between a mother and a daughter in two different moments in time, exploring the transition of feelings within a relationship, such as compassion and anger, love and hate, and the influence of past, which plays a fundamental role in present and future relations.