“Each mosaic is as much an artwork as it is a piece of a planetary meta-grid”

A French street artist who made a name for himself by installing mosaics imitating the motifs of a popular Japanese video game, space invader, on the walls of major international cities, Invader is the architect of a vast network of over 4,000 works woven over more than two decades. All are mentioned in the program created for this purpose, flash invadersdesigned by the artist two years ago Pokemon Go!, which allows 140,000 subscribers to follow his work and earn points whenever they come across one of his creations. The artist, represented by Over the Influence gallery, managed to remain anonymous to the general public by appearing masked in the interview. This did not prevent him from exhibiting in the world’s largest museums and selling his works at increasingly high prices on the art market. However, Invader’s work goes far beyond the iconic Space Invaders. expanded to other video games as well Super Mariopasses the cartoon with The little mermaid and The Pink Pantheror by cinema, with Star Wars, without forgetting pop celebrities like Serge Gainsbourg or William Burroughs in a more literary register. Inspired by the places he “occupies”, each of his works is unique and demonstrates the constant reinvention of his visual language. Borrowing from geek vocabulary, he takes his approach as a program to attack urban space through artistic viruses designed to hack public space. Marked by the intersection of mosaics and pixels, real space and virtual space, Invader’s work is thus rooted in thinking about the place of digital technology in our societies.

POTI_01, Potosi, Bolivia, 2021
POTI_01, Potosi, Bolivia, 2021

– occupy

On the occasion of the exhibition 4000, To be held at Over the Influence gallery until January 22, 2023, as well as the publication of a book that follows his work like a bible, 4000 – The Complete Guide to Space Invaders, 1998-2021, Occupier returns to the microphone of Romain de Becdelièvre in his long career and opens up about his creative process.

The intersection of time and space

“It took me a long time to realize the power of this gesture of sticking a piece on the street. I realized that I had found something new because I could see posters, graffiti and paintings on the streets, but no one had thought of gluing a dedicated mosaic on the base. And above all, by the greatest luck, the first time I got stuck was a Space Invaders. After analyzing the gesture a bit, I realized that Space Invaders meant space invaders, which is quite unusual because I did it. […] So I started occupying the urban space, but also the planetary space, because I wanted to get out of Paris very quickly, so that it was not just France-Paris, but a planetary phenomenon. » occupy

I really feel like I’m starting a never-ending project. It would even take several lifetimes to go all the way because the world is so vast. In Paris alone, I have already done about 1500 poses and I can do that many more. Every day I discover new streets, new corners, new potential places. I try to cover the planet as much as possible, but there are still many countries, cities and places that I have not set foot on. » occupy

VRN_13, Varanasi, India, 2008
VRN_13, Varanasi, India, 2008

– occupy

An artist is like a sponge that absorbs the things of his time. So I started representing many subjects other than video game characters. It goes from pop culture characters to all kinds of objects, subjects… In Hong Kong, you can see Bruce Lee. Portrait of Sid Vicis in London. In New York, I did a whole series of New Yorker characters, from Woody Allen to Joe Ramone, Andy Warhol to Lou Reed, and many others. » occupy

Nickname DJBA_40, 183 x 80 cm, ceramic tiles and ID on panel, 2022
Nickname DJBA_40, 183 x 80 cm, ceramic tiles and ID on panel, 2022

– occupy

The art of “Urban Acupuncture”.

The workshop has the upper hand to design the part, fabricate it and then glue it as quickly as possible. Then there are no rules, depending on their location and size I was able to install some in minutes and others in hours. But the idea is to be as quick and discreet as possible. » occupy

I play with the places I work in, both in terms of architecture, the memory of the place, and the support that will receive the work. » occupy

PA_1172 Paris, France, 2015
PA_1172 Paris, France, 2015

– occupy

Each piece is unique. In order not to repeat the same mosaic twice, I set this limit for myself from the beginning. So you have 4000 different original works from 4000 mosaics. To stick with the idea of ​​a video game, I told myself that I would give them a score between 10 and 100 depending on the size, the difficulty I had installing it, and where it was located. is placed » occupy

Current work

6 min

His news

  • Exhibition 4000 in the gallery

    On the impact

    In Paris, from December 10, 2022 to January 22, 2023. About forty mostly new and out-of-print works (aliases) are presented, as well as a deluxe edition of 500 signed copies of the book each. , numbered and dated. Also, a movie of the Potosi invasion where the 4000th mosaic is placed at 4000m and a generative video collecting the 4000 space invaders listed in the book.

  • Job 4000 – The Complete Guide to Space Invaders, 1998-2021Published in December 2022 by Control P Publications, this book looks back over 20 years of the now-legendary Space Invaders project, implemented on a planetary scale in 170 cities.
  • Exhibition “Invading Rubikcubist” for

    MIMA (Millennium Iconoclast Art Museum) to be discovered in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean in the Brussels region Until January 8, 2023 . This is Invader’s first solo exhibition devoted entirely to Rubik’s Cube. Coined by the artist in 2005, the term refers to his studio work around the Rubik’s cube, a popular colored puzzle, from which he creates paintings and sculptures.

View from the exhibition
View of the exhibition “4000”, Gallery on Impact, Paris, 2022

– Occupier / Photo: Julien Pepy

Sounds during the show:

  • Excerpt from an interview with Tomihiro Nishikado, the Japanese creator of Space Invador.
  • Ernest Pignon Ernest on the ephemeral state of art, March 2013 in Inter France’s “Le grand interview” program.
  • Invader music selection: “Moonage Daydream” by David Bowie.
  • Street artist VHILS asked about the aesthetics of vandalism in May 2015 on “Yer var” program at Inter France.

The Big Table (Part 2)

34 min

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