Ongoing series, started in 2014.

Photo documentation of found graphical compositions, produced by ashes of cigarettes, regularly stubbed out against walls in public spaces.

Ink-jet print on blue back paper in scale 1 : 1, wallpaper glue. The photographs are displayed in space according to the original distance of the fragment from the ground.

Soot – is an ongoing series, started in 2014.

Through photography I fix found compositions, formed by repetition of a same gesture – stubbing out a cigarette against a wall. In different parts of Moscow its traces spontaneously mark the public space.

The gesture in itself is natural as a tic, a habit, an automatism. Nevertheless, in the context of a planned landscape those traces of human presence are not considered. They represent disruption, glitch, shame and dirt. They are the embodiment of the unplanned. This work focuses on the undesirable manifestations of a context – on the denied, the  "invisible" forms - in order to reveal them and to comprehend them as something organic, natural, and at the same time gently subversive.


After the documentation comes the reproduction: I print the photographs on blue back paper (commonly used for billposting) in scale 1:1, then I display them inside the exhibition space according to the original distance of the marks from the ground – at the level of the hand. By these means, I let the gesture enter the exhibition space.


For now, there are nine photo-fixations in the series. The biggest one is "Soot (Domodedovo)." It reproduces in scale 1:1 the parapet, which runs along the airport building near Moscow. It has in fact become the smoking area, and consequently the surface of stubbing out the cigarettes. The composition is more than 40m long. It can be reproduced partly, according to the size of the receiving wall. The absence of frame, the minimum thickness of the paper, the merging of wall surfaces, the disposableness of the photographs - suggests that we do not face an object, but an observation that appears inside another space. It is devoid of the qualities of an object, it is free from them.

The context of the exhibition creates for this work a possibility of a window, the ability to direct the focus. Thus, I affirm this reality. I recognize it as an integral part of the context. I claim it as a manifestation of life, which is also not deprived of aesthetic qualities.


Not so long ago, soot was called the disease of megacities. Enveloping imperceptibly everything around it was tinting the cities black. «Soot» is like a natural force. Choosing this title for the series, I imagined  these single stains, scattered around the city, as parts of a whole.

Soot is a trace of time. It is one of those substances witch turn time visible. There is something photographic in its essence - the surface is receptive to it.

These found «cigarette drawings» - are the effect of constant interaction between the element and the surface. The result of numerous touches. The walls as sensitive surfaces absorb and retain traces of a collective action: to break the monochrome of a wall, to challenge the order, accidentally or subconsciously wanting to leave a trace in the urban landscape. Involuntary gesture as graffiti, gesture as an unwitting vandalism. Сoncentration of the gesture as an unspoken community.

Soot (Domodedovo) : 1,5m fragment of the composition of more than 47m long

© Elizaveta Konovalova 2020