I Made Them Run Away

I Made Them Run Away, 2017-2020
Photography, archive material, text

‘It was summer and as many children did, I spent my days in a summer camp. One night I was very excited when I came home and after having had 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 had been and I couldn’t stop myself from showing 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 glare towards me. Having said goodbye to the man, my mother came back in the house yelling at me: “How is it possible that you make them all run away?”.’

«I Made Them Run Away» is a multi-layered story weaving together archival family photographs and contemporary imagery with texts written by the artist’s mother. Shifting between the different points of view, Zanin depicts the recurring complicated triangle relationship between her, her mother, and the “man”, a not-constant multiple figure, mostly invisible in the work.

Fantasizing about a man she was never able to have, the artist’s mother wrote her thoughts and desires to an imaginary man 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, tearing off all her ex-boyfriends, and creating objects saturated with anger and loneliness. Captured by the artist are objects, gestures, animals, body parts, and idyllic visions, symbolic images reconstructing feelings and sensations that emerged from the past.

The interplay of perspectives created by the interweaving of archival photographs, text, and contemporary images, opens up a dialogue between mother and daughter in two different moments in time, a reflection on the role of the past in the present, and an exploration of the coexistence and transition of opposite feelings within family ties and love relationships, such as compassion and anger, attraction and repulsion.