Alexey Malina’s Broken Face

alexey malina

When you first look at this piece by Alexey Malina, what you immediately notice is what appears to be a woman’s face, tilted haughtily towards the viewer as she looks down upon you. Her half-lidded eyes and contemptuous pout underscore this sense of disdain: while you admire her beauty, she deigns to barely acknowledge your existence. Upon closer inspection, however, the viewer realizes that she is not a woman at all, but rather a half-formed façade of one. The eyes are merely blotchy shadows of darkness, while the mouth is composed of an amorphous shape. What at first seems to be a well-defined nose and cheekbones takes on alien qualities. With this piece, Malina challenges the idea of first impressions, showing us that our hasty assumptions lead to misconceptions.

In fact, the face is contorted with various overlaying of shapes and lines. The shape overlapping with the woman’s forehead shades her eyes and makes it seem like she is peering out from under something. The more structured, geometric shapes near the bottom of the piece further fragment the face, creating lines that lead the viewer’s focus inward towards the woman’s most defined features. These shapes create a striking, broken quality in the woman’s face. They mar her beauty and emphasize the splendor of imperfection. Perhaps Malina is suggesting that no person can be “perfect”. Rather, everyone is composed of a complex, unfathomable mixture of different things: beauty and ugliness, hardness and softness. It is this imperfection that makes each person unique and interesting.

What do you think of this image?