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A mirror covered in wax and smaller, broken mirror pieces, with a portrait of the artist on the right, rests above a sink. The wax on the mirror is meant to mimic skin. The skin is covered in used up bottles of various skincare products. On either side of the mirror, there are rows of porcelain tiles. Each tile is a close-up monochromatic portrait of the artist picking at the skin of her face.

Cracks in the Porcelain

Kyra Koprowski

Oil on porcelain tile, wax, mirrors, plastic rhinestones, 2022

Cracks in the Porcelain is an installation of painted self portraits on small porcelain tiles and mirror surfaces. The work examines my personal experiences with acne and dermatillomania, a chronic skin-picking disorder. Through the repeated creation of the small self portraits, I aim to analyze the struggle of self-image and public perception intertwined with the aforementioned conditions. The smooth porcelain material is a metaphor for skin, stemming from the phrases “porcelain skin” or “glass skin.” Implied imperfections are created from the cracks and scratched paint, as well as globs of wax and red rhinestones to simulate pimples. The poured wax on the large mirror piece creates a false skin surface reflective of how I view my own skin: bumpy, pockmarked, crumbling, oozing, and disturbingly fleshy. The textures created with the wax mimic how it feels to grapple with dermatillomania and fight the urge to pick and destroy until it is smooth. Viewers can see themselves alongside my face and the wax on the cracked mirror fragments, inviting them to reflect on their own self-image within the context of my work.