I had stopped smoking tobacco in 1978, but my good aquaintace, artist Senator Stephan Watrin ( from Hamburg, still does. It’s his choice, of course. Unlike all the other people who throw their cigarette butts everywhere they go, the man collects them patiently, sometimes the ashes too, and uses all of it for his outstanding creative purposes. Since many years he puts as many of the butts as possible in the cellophane wrappings of his cigarette packages and arranges them together with other material. Years ago he even filled the bedsprings of a mattress with them, after he had removed the cloth and stuffing, and finally wrapped the whole thing in transparent plastic. This “smelling sculpture” of about 80 cm x 190 cm stood somewhere leaned at a wall in his gallery cafè until the place had been destroyed in a fire in summer 2010. It’s such a pity that I haven’t archived any photographs of that fine piece of art! But recently I discovered that the man has found new ways to keep his cigarette butts. It reminds me a bit of Dieter Roth’s “Schimmelmuseum” ( that regrettably doesn’t exist anymore.

66 (17.12.11)
A cigarette butt cloud of 2011
77 (12.08.17)
August 2017 I
78 (12.08.17)
August 2017 II
79 (12.08.17)
August 2017 III
80 (12.08.17)
August 2017 IV
81 (12.08.17)
A victim of smoking
82 (12.08.17)
The Senator introducing his deceased friend


  1. Wow. Thank the senator for wanting to beautify the place he calls home. Someone opened the front passenger door and dumped an ash tray at a stop light today. I wanted to get out and clean up the mess, but the light changed, and life moved on.


    1. In the 1990s I had seen a feature on German TV about an artist who collected dust in several art museums. I don’t remember whether he went to places like Louvre, Paris, too. Anyway, he carried this small car VC with him all the time to do his job and archived the little dustbags after this actions meticulously – place time etc. I also don’t remember whether he had informed the museum staffs in advance. But had that made a difference?


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