Sergey Chilikov was born in 1953 and graduated from Mari Pedagogical Institute with an MA in Philosophy (1983). From 1976 till 1991 Chilikov lectured at Yoshkar-Ola University. In 1993 he completed a book on Russian philosophy, ‘The Owner of a Thing, or the Anthology of Subjectivity’.
Chilikov’s photography career began in 1976 in the FACT group (S. Chilikov, Y. Evlampiev, V. Voetsky, E. Likhosherst, V. Mikhaylov).
Very soon he became a leader of non-conformist photography in his region. Closely linked to the Sots Art (Soviet Pop Art) movement, Chilikov’s work is a subversive response to the strict Brezhnev era of the USSR. Away from the oppression of public society and in the privacy of domestic situations, people were free to behave as they wished. Chilikov turned his lens upon his subjects in this liberated state. His work offers a glimpse into a fascinating past counter-culture that has striking resonance to our societies today.
Alyssa Coppelman wrote in Slate about how badly photography was thought of as an art form in 1970s Soviet Russia:
Photography wasn’t given credence as a legitimate art form and even classic Soviet photography wasn’t included in museum exhibitions. In order to get their work seen, photographers started their own clubs, exchanging work with other clubs and organizing their own exhibitions and festivals, and thereby creating a community that supported photography as a legitimate art form.
All photos by Sergei Chilikov
From the series “Photo provocations”, 1995
© Sergei Chilikov / Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow