While the title itself disavows any deeper meanings, Russian Victoria Tsarkova's new series, "No Politics. Just a Joke" clearly has something on its mind. After all, you don’t draw Pope Benedict XVI as a Heath Ledger’s Joker without intending to ruffle some feathers.
Tsarkova’s series, which is now on display at a show in Moscow, blends larger-than-life figures from the world of politics, religion, and pop culture, taking the air out of one side and perhaps inflating the other. The works blend figures from history with modern-day icons. All are destined to equally amuse and confuse. While it might scratch the itch of enduring resentment for modern day Russians to seeing the flesh on Joseph Stalin’s face peeled back to reveal a Terminator’s endoskeleton, one gets the feeling there might be some sort of ulterior motive meant in portraying Barack Obama as Ronald McDonald.
"When picking up characters for my portraits, the point was to diffuse a highly charged political atmosphere in the world," the artist told RT.com. "That’s why I focused on the heroes who have a universal appeal and are recognized across the word."
One piece features a comedic pairing that looks something like Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, though Tsarkova said in RT that they are simply "characters from the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas movie starring Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro."
Have a look through many of the images in the slide show above.