The Constructed Family: an artist confronts her disturbing past through haunting mannequins
Ursula moved to the USA when she was five. She recalls the unhappiness of her uprooting and the uncertainty it created through mannequins with images projected onto their faces.
The faces of the children are slides that my father took of me when he was still involved in my life. The other slides are present day images that I have shot of my mom, my dad, and myself. My goal is to reconstruct my own childhood, empowering the past for better or for worse. The result is a troubling recreation of events that may seem disturbing but are far less in context to the real events that transpired.
The result is haunting.
At first the series wasn’t autobiographical, but, after writing about her childhood, she felt placing herself into the projections would be a better fit. She bought some child-size mannequins on eBay and used photographs of herself from infancy until around 7 years old that expressed her feelings during those years. She then projected the images onto the mannequins she placed in environments.
“I’ve always been drawn to spaces with light that have more of an urban, rugged feel,” she said. “The spaces feel more raw which is what I like to shoot in general, so the series was also getting back to that raw or early place in my life.”