Lives and works on Earth

A pioneer of contemporary street art, Invader. The artist’s mosaics, inspired by the landmark 1978 arcade game Space Invaders, are among the most recognisable examples of the genre.

From 1998, The artist “invades” cities worldwide, adroitly placing his tiled pieces in certain locations and awarding himself “points” based on the intricacy of the mural and the difficulty in placing it. “This,” he said in 2011, “is the most addictive game I have ever played.”

He works without permission the vast majority of the time. The deeply personal, large-scale aspect of this ongoing artistic exercise can be likened to the psychogeographical experiments of fellow French artist Guy Debord. Invader’s use of low culture in a high art conceptual project also has parallels with the Situationist movement in general. The invasions don’t simply descend upon major cosmopolises, but also far-flung exotic locales such as Mombasa and Katmandu. In a metaphorical sense, his forces have razed his home city of Paris to the ground.

Invader has been arrested several times during these incursions, most notably in 2011 at Little Tokyo’s Perez building in Los Angeles, in the run-up to MOCA gallery’s Art in the Streets exhibition, in which his artwork appeared.

His gallery pieces feature a staple series which the artist calls “Aliases”. These are replica mosaics set in Perspex accompanied by a certificate detailing the placement of the original. From 2004, He has also used Rubik’s Cube toys to create pixelated canvas and sculptures of anti-heroes (Rubik Bad Men), album art (Rubik Low Fidelity) and famous paintings (Rubik Master Pieces).

Other projects that illustrate the quirky nature of the artist include a waffle-making machine that dispenses Space Invader-shaped snacks, and a disco ball which reflects the artist’s signature image onto the walls of any potential dancefloor. In 2012 a jury-rigged helium balloon equipped with a radio camera carried a mosaic into space, and a further example appeared on the underwater sculptures of Jason deCaires Taylor near Cancun, Mexico.

Invader is also noted for continuing to produce hobby-level products for his massed ranks of fans, including “Invasion Maps” and “Invasion guides” in the style of the Michelin Guide, ” invasion kits” and collectible sticker packs. He is heavily featured in the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, and rightly so.

INVADER Artworks