i know i’m repeating myself a little here but i can’t resist.
and not just because he’s popular and a little bit well-known,
but because what he does is truly unique, because the work individually and as a collective whole is fun, and because his concept is really coherent.
i’m talking about the street artist formally known as space invader. he currently has two awesome exhibitions running in Paris (one on either side of town – see here for more details) to celebrate his thousandth invasion on the city. and that’s not including his hometown of lille or any of the other 40 or so cities he has hit over the span of his career.
the pictures and info that follows is the result of my visit to the exhibition at la general. upon arrival one enters through what is essentially a large warehouse space through a dimly lit shipping container filled with mosaic tiles. exploring the space one will find, among numerous other wonders, a perspex box of (used) shoes which have been made with soles featuring a space invader logo, a vending machine of space invader stickers, a two storey high illuminated rubix cube, space invader disco ball and several maps indicating the artists plethora of invasions – all chronologically numbered.
caption: shoes made and worn by invader in his invasions around the world
for sale at the conclusion of the exhibition is beer and waffles – in the shape of the infamous gaming icon. yes, the man actually manufactured an invader waffle iron.
the more serious work, which is the true focus of the show, is not what i would consider his more traditional or classic work but it’s something he’s been doing since at least 2005. much in the vein of the recent shepherd fairey exhibition i last wrote about here in part 6 of the series, space invader appropriates popular imagery of bands, musicians, actors, films – with a twist. invader uses only rubix cubes to build the image. he has even made a rubix cube version of shepherd fairey’s original andre the giant sticker (perhaps in homage to his peer), along with representations of two highly recognised artworks by lichtenstein and hokusai. ‘how postmoderrrrrn!‘ you might say.
what i find remarkable is that he doesn’t deconstruct the cube to use the pieces individually (as with the mosaic tiles featuring in the majority of his street work) rather, he puts the piece together using the entire rubix cube making sure the face holds the correct colours in the correct places to fit the whole image. i’ve always admired anyone with the patience and skill to solve rubix cube but i think this might have to be one step above!
even with the rubix cube, invader remains within his central theme both visually and conceptually. the mosaic imagery remains in addition to the reference to gaming and childhood pastimes. more than anything (and this is becoming a theme for my own work here at tobeilluinated) is the aspect of fun his work contains. the colours, the reference to gaming, the score keeping, the act of vandalism/installing the space invaders, the simplicity of his visual style – it lights me up inside.
NB: again, sorry for the poor quality of some of these images