Ilya Chichkan, Ukrainian (1967 - )

Born in 1967 in Kiev he can be considered the founder of the Ukrainian Artist Movement New Wave that developed at the beginning of the 90's as a local phenomenon of the Transavantgarde and response to the major changes that took place after the Perestroika. The Term New Wave itself describes a broad and diverse cycle of world art in the 1980's and early 90's related to the Postmodernist Epoche. In 1988/89 he and a small group of other artists as Alexander Gnilitsky, Maksim Mamsikov, Vassily Tsagolov,...founded the collective "Commune Paris", named after a street in Kiev, where their studio and meetingpoint was located. Their works during that period of time have been dedicated to the revolt against the bureaucratique cultural institutions that had developed during Soviet-times. Here their exhibitions and events often lead to skandals as being marked "politically incorrect".

They developed the theory of the Ukrainian New Wave as they intentionally used traditional painting techniques and elements from Ukrainian baroque to express themes and ideas in the present time, to transform the past into present, not neglecting technology but using painting to express their conception of ideas. Ilya Chichkan's life has been a constant journey since then, travelling nearly all European countries from the eastern to the western hemisphere. It was then he gathered experiences of the various different developments of European contemporary art and was always capable of adding new insights and ideas to his works, always combining theory and life, which makes him one of the most creative of contemporary artists from Ukraine. His works are mostly revealing a social-critical idea, that reflects upon the relation of human development towards its natural status and the civilized perception of the individual. Within the cycle "Monkey or Man", that was exhibited the first time in 2005, but he started workin on already in 1994,his works depict a subject that is not far away from the kafkaesk story of the ape as a metaphor for the individual, who, despite his civilized state remains a primate.

Here he focuses on the approach of the inanimate within humankind - the android, the primal, to emphasize constructed deviation as an activation of the individual. In his early PhotoseriesSleeping Princes of Ukraine from 1997, and the video-/photo-project Atomic Love, 2002 he refers to the nuclear catastrophe in Chernobyl in 1985 he received an award-nomination. Due to his Soviet Background there is also a vivid activity in the field of aspects of domestic life and cultural stereotypes which are photographically integrated into his works. In his work ... he created an installation which serves as a metaphor of the role women in textile industry played in reaching the production goals, based on various utopian social-economic plans, referring to the concepts of mass production and efficiency in the absence of product differentiation and the Western Concept of advertising's libidinal mask. He now lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2007: Guelman Gallery, Moscow, Russia, Mind Games Ilya Chichkan&Blue Noses
  • 2007: Bereznitsky Gallery, Kiev, Ukraine
  • 2006: Bereznitsky-Gallery, Berlin, Moments and Monuments
  • 2006: Bereznitsky Gallery (L-art), Kiev, Ukraine, PornoPops
  • 2005: Guelman Gallery, Moscow, Russia, Psychodarwinism
  • 2005: Bereznitsky Gallery (L-art), Kiev, Ukraine, Monkey or Man
  • 2004: Bereznitsky Gallery (L-art), Kiev, Ukraine, Popsart
  • 2004: Remont-Gallery, Belgrade,Rabbits on Acid
  • 2001: Querini Stampalia, Venice, Italy, Illya Chichkan
  • 2000: Gallery One Degree, Skopje, Macedonia, Sleeping Princess
  • 1994: Centre for Contemporary Arts Brama, Kiev, Ukraine, Alter Idem

Group Exhibitions

  • 2007: Moscow Biennale
  • 2006: Nobel Sculpture House, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2006: Kunst Halle Wien, Vienne, Austria, Post Orange
  • 2006: London, UK, Defenders
  • 2005: Bithanie Künstlerhaus, Berlin, Germany, South Wing
  • 2005: Art Moscow, Russia. Playboyshow
  • 2004: Manifesta 5., SanSebastian, Spain
  • 2004: Photographic Biennal, Turin, Italy


  • Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow

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