Cut this! 5 art-works about street ad banners in Russia

Many urban artists (ourselves included) hate street advertisement, because it’s destroy brain of citizens and is a powerful tool of the global consumption system, which currently manipulates everyone. Advertisement has captured urban space in many cities, especially in Russia, but we can fight it! Or ok, we can try to fight it.

The most popular format for street advertisement in Russia is printing on vinyl banners, the cheapest solution for every businesses, from local to global companies. Many banners, which are printed by small local business have terrible bright designs and are installed illegally. Often it’s too hard to regulate because of it’s spontaneous character.

Another vinyl banner trend in Moscow is the fake facades, which are used to temporarily decorate buildings under renovation. Sometimes the building has been under repair for many years and people just see fakeness everywhere.

In this selection we wanted to show urban interventions by artists who work with street advertisement in Russia a lot. These are just some examples of how we can transform useless advertisement objects in to something useful.


Banner Ban

Kirill KTO, Volodimer / 2011, Moscow


In 2011 two Moscow artists fought with street advertisement, which were printed on vinyl banners. They cut out many parts, making bags for friends. This poetic motion was an effort to rescue the city from parasites.


Promo Action

Sasha Kurmaz, Igor Ponosov / 2013, Rostov-on-Don

In 2013 Sasha and Igor travelled to Rostov-on-Don, where they found many different simple advertisement messages, like as ‘For sale’, ‘Rent’, etc. Many local business companies there use these signs illegally – the designs were pretty bright and anyone would be so disoriented looking at them. After two nights of working illegally, they uninstalled many messages and transformed it into a protest, which looked like a demonstration against advertisement, but using ads.


The Tent

Brad Downey, Igor Ponosov / 2014, Europe, Russia, Crimea


Igor and Brad prepared for the trip to Ukraine by stealing advertisement banners, a representation of consumerism, hence purchases obtained by money and influenced by greed. They converted the appropriated advertisement banners into a mobile artist workspace. The tent could be deconstructed easily and stored in a small backpack.

By the time Brad and Igor were ready to go to Ukraine the peninsula had been annexed. Instead, they went to the Russian territory of Crimea. They asked no one to help fund this trip, for they wanted to accomplish it without external influences, during a time and in a location where outside influence ruled. For three days, they hiked to reach the Crimea’s highest plateau. Throughout this period of living inside the creation, they cherished the beautiful countryside and mourned the actions, or lack of action, from both the East and the West.


Costume-tent for homeless people

Igor Ponosov / 2015, Moscow


A project by Igor to create a cape/tent for the homeless. Using cutout from advertisements in the pattern form of a cape for the homeless, Ads became a useful material. Igor used fragments of advertising banner, to produce a mobile camouflage "house" for homeless people. These facades could be renewed as fake facades for "fake" citizens.


Banner Fashion

Vladimir Stekachev, Igor Ponosov, Yulia Gvosdeva / Moscow, 2015

Inspired by a quote of Ivan Chtcheglov (1958): "We are bored in the city, to still discover mysteries on the signs along the streets, latest state of humor and poetry, requires getting damned tired...", artists transformed advertisements, fake facades, graffiti patterns and other street layers into clothes, which can be used in everyday life.