Monday, July 25, 2011

Contributions to "Portrait of 19 Million" Part 3

Maria Safronova

Julia Winter

Anna Neizvestnova

Igor Baskakov

Lucas Kelly

In July I plan to begin a letter writing/emailing campaign to Mr. Gorbachev.  I thought if I got a response then my painting could be done from a photo, provided by his foundation.

If no response, I thought it might be interesting to make my portrait based on images of Mr. Gorbachev and images of Gorbachev look-a-likes from American pop culture.  Growing up in the States much of my relationship with Gorbachev was in the form of his likeness in parody.

Rocky IV has a Soviet Prime Minister in one shot that looks like him, while the Naked Gun has a Gorbachev look-a-like as well.  These portraits of Gorbachev handle him in two completely different ways.  In Rocky the soviets are a dark and evil force, their boxer kills Apollo Creed, a fictional american icon, in the ring.  When Rocky goes to the Soviet Union to fight Drago the portrait of the nation is very dark.  In a stadium filled with Soviets all wearing the same military clothing the prime minister sits in the back of a dimly lit space and just raises his hand in approval to Drago, the soviet boxer.  This paints the image of the USSR as a threat.  A real threat, one that is void of sentimentality and mercy.  A dark space where individual freedom is not destroyed but vanquished.  It's really melodramatic.In the Naked Gun; Frank Drebben, played by Leslie Nielsen, is trying to uncover a secret plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II.  It's a comedic parody on detective films, conspiracy film and the like.  In the film Nielsen tackels Gorbachev and to prove he is an imposter, wipes off the birthmark on his head.  Here the idea of Gorbachev is treated with little respect.  He becomes a farce.  Something trivial and disrespected.  No threat to be taken seriously at all.This is at least my tentative idea.  

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