Archive for the ‘Invader’ Tag

You have been invaded….

To coincide with the about-to-open show at Lazarides’ Rathbone Place gallery in London, I thought it was a good time to post this little homage to the wonderful Invader.

For those of you who don’t know Invader’s work, Invader is a French artist who makes and remakes small mosaics of the ‘Space Invader’, star of countless video games in the 1970s.

I always think of Invader’s works as occupying space in the street very quietly: due to their smallness, they tend to be unassuming and easy to miss, often placed high up on a street corner, or in some hard-to-reach location. (I’ve written recently about the appeal of the small – have a look here).

Once you do notice them, they have great appeal: as mosaics, they have an artisanal quality that provides a nice contrast with the low-culture evoked by the video game referent.

On his website, Invader repeats the trope of ‘invasion’ in another way, so that cities become sites to be invaded by the artist and his mosaic tiles. It’s obviously a militaristic metaphor, and one which is often used by the opponents of graffiti, who see illicit imagery as something which ‘invades’ a previously ‘clean’ wall. It’s one of the great things about Invader’s artwork that it can pinpoint the hysteria that underlies anti-graffiti rhetoric, for here, indeed, are the fearful ‘invaders’, and it has to be asked, who could fail to love these little mosaics?

In addition to his dedicated work in invading (to date) 40 cities around the world, in recent years, Invader has also  had a number of gallery shows. I’m unsure how successful his work is in the gallery setting, but it certainly draws a lot of strength from fine art movements such as Pop Art. For me, Invader is at his best in the street, and so, while I recommend that anyone who is in London over the next month takes a look at his gallery show, I wanted to pay tribute to the enduring charm of the Space Invaders that can be found all around us – in the streets. I believe that Invader has been busy adding some new works to the streets of London in the last little while, so keep your eyes open for those. But for now, here are some of my favourites.

In Amsterdam:

corner with stickers plus#1.JPG

In Shoreditch, London:

Various #6 alt view.JPG

Not far from the Tate Modern, in London:


In Rothsay Place, in Melbourne’s CBD:


Just off Alexandra Parade, in Melbourne, a very faded example:


In SoHo, New York City:

day bowery space invader

Enjoy the show, if you get to see it at Lazarides. But, even better, enjoy the streets if you are lucky enough to have been invaded!

An image to drive by…

I have no photograph with which to illustrate this post. Last Friday afternoon, I was in the car with my partner. I’m sitting in the passenger seat. We drive down Hoddle Street and take the entrance to the Eastern Freeway off Hoddle Street. Just as we whizz at some speed around the corner to join the freeway, I glimpse what I’m sure is an Invader artwork, positioned on the wall next to the freeway entrance. My memory says purplish-blue as the main colour, perhaps with a few key tiles in red?

Invader is a French artist who makes mosaic tiles and attaches them to walls. Usually, they take the shapes of ‘space invaders’ from that proptypical video game back in the 1970s, although some of his more recent works have involved Rubik’s cube designs. The mosaic tiles are attached to street walls, and often sit quietly unnoticed by passers-by.  I don’t know when this tile was put up, but unless it’s very recent I’m pretty sure that I have driven past it a number of times without realising it was there.

If I ever get up the nerve to walk round the corner of the freeway entrance and take its photograph I will certainly post it. Or perhaps, in summer, I could get up at first light – when that road might be free of cars – and photograph it then.

But I also like the idea that it is hard to photograph, so that it exists in my memory rather than as a thumbnail on my computer. In my memory, it has the shimmer of sudden colour against concrete, as the car sweeps past – an image appearing out of the stone.