26/24: Sergei Chilikov - difFERences
Sergei Chilikov (1953) - photographer. He lives in Yoshkar-Ola. He graduated in Modern Languages, and has a Candidate’s degree in Philosophical Sciences. Up to 1991 he lectured in various higher education institutions in Yoshkar-Ola. In 1993 he published a book on Russian analytic philosophy entitled: Artseg. The Owner of a Thing, or the Ontology of Subjectivity. He is preparing the publication of a pentalogy: ‘Artseg. Treatises on Secret Objects: a Treatise on Value (published in 1998), a Treatise on Morals, a Treatise on the Absolute, a Treatise on the Attribute, and a Treatise on Thought.’
He began working in photography in 1976 in the creative group ‘Fact’ (S. Chilikov, V. Mikhailov, Yu. Yevlampev, Ye. Likhosherst, V. Voyetsky). Between 1980 and 1989 he organised “Analytical Exhibitions of Photography,” and annual photographic pleinair events entitled In Kundysh. In 1988 he participated in the summarising exhibition of ‘Fact’ in Moscow entitled In Kashirka.
From 1989 he established photographic cycles in trains journeying through many cities of the USSR.
Over the past two years he has participated with his series Photo- provocations and Rural Glamour in the festivals ‘Fashion and Style in Photography’ (Moscow 2001), IV Photobienniale in Moscow (2002), and ‘Photographic Meetings’ in Arles (2002).
“Find Seven Differences” is the caption beneath pictures from magazine sections on entertainment, “Feel the Difference” is an advertising slogan, “Differences and Similarities” is the famous book by the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. Differences of the type “before and after” in the photographic series of May Day Demonstrations in 1984 and 2002 in Yoshkar- Ola, apart from the fact that one of them is in black and white, the other in colour, can only be found with great difficulty. Architectural transformations of this poor town in Marii El remained invisible or were simply non-existent.
A viewer who is not engaged with the political pathos of perestroika will only notice a few insignificant changes in the street decoration, and growth in the trees. The difference can be discovered not in the static but rather in the kinematic elements of the environment – in the people. In 1984 there were naturally enough elements of stagnation, whereas in 2002 there were power elements like Energizer batteries. To feel rather than measure the difference, as in childhood we gauged the difference in the potentials of a battery with the tongue, is possible only having established the link between the people posed in the picture and the photographer who is missing from it. It is he, who in repeating a shot from 18 years ago, has changed, just as he would change if he repeated it next day, next month, next year. He, an artist and philosopher, is also the user of a tempting advertising slogan and the Deleusesque “the difference as it is,” as distinct from us, when we have leisure time searching for Peter the Young Pioneer in hidden drawings.” (Yu. Avvakumov)