I Made Them Run Away is a multi-layered story that ties together images of the artist’s family and photography, accompanied by texts written by her mother.

The piece brings together memories of the past and feelings of the present, to investigate and document the dynamics of modern relationships – the need for attention, the expectations that lead to disappointment, insecurity and passing judgment. The central themes include love, fantasy, illusion and identity. Moving between different perspectives, Zanin describes the often-complicated relationship between herself, her mother and the “man” – mostly represented within the piece as an absence.

Fantasising about a man that she was never able to have in her life, the artist’s mother writes down her thoughts and desires in a diary titled Letters to a Man Never Had. These poetical writings contrast with the torn-up photographs of the family, with only the figure of the mother or the daughter having been kept, creating objects saturated with rage and solitude. Every other photo is the interior reconstruction and expression of past feelings that come to the surface in the present; documenting fantasy and reality.

What does it mean for a child to live with so many strangers? How much have these past experiences influenced the way the artist now relates to others? The onlooker is struck by a feeling of ambivalence that is part compassion and part rage, never able to take a side between the two characters.

Project presented in Giovane Fotografia Italiana #08 | RECONSTRUCTION

Martina Zanin


(San Daniele del Friuli, 1994)

Martina Zanin is a visual artist. She took a diploma in photography from the ISFCI in Rome and a master’s in contemporary photography from the IED Madrid. She has also studied plastic arts at the Scuola Nicola Zabaglia in Rome.

In 2018 she won a Lucie Foundation Scholarship, the Cortona On the Move New Visions prize and the Fiebre Dummy Award with the work I Made Them Run Away. The same piece was exhibited in 2018 at the JEST in Turin and in 2019 by Leporello in Rome. Zanin was nominated for the 2019 Foam Paul Huf Award and for the 2020 C/O Berlin Talent Award. In 2019 she took part in the artist residency SAM Lessinia. Her work has been published in Unseen Magazine, YET Magazine, Der Greif, and Internazionale.

Zanin’s artistic practice is intimately tied to her personal experiences and tackles themes such as memory, relationships and identity. The book format is central to her work. She uses photography in conjunction with other media, creating a multi-layered narrative within which narrative spaces and perceptions become intertwined.

Zanin is represented by the gallery Studio Faganel in Gorizia, Italia.