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Critical Review

Maps is a collection of artworks produced by the renowned French street artist Invader in the 2000s. Every print in this collection shows a map of a well known city, such as Rome, Paris, Brussels or Sao Paulo. The maps vary in style, from simple designs using one or two colours such as Invasion De Paris, to brighter compositions that feature bold colours - Cote d'Azur being a notable example. Djerba Island strives for an older feel as the artist uses black ink on yellowing paper. The composition’s hand burnt edges mean the print resembles an old treasure map.

The prints in the collection all contain detailed information regarding the locations of Invader’s alien mosaics which are part of his elaborate Space Invaders project. Invader started the impressive project in 1998 which involves the artist travelling to cities all over the world and scouting out the perfect locations to install mosaics of aliens from the popular arcade game, Space Invaders. The use of small ceramic square tiles which Invader glues onto the city walls resonates strongly with the 8-bit visual register of arcade games and has become a signature element of the artist’s visual style.

Invader refers to his artistic process as an ‘invasion’ and the artist has successfully ‘invaded’ over 30 countries. Invader aims to install around 20 to 50 mosaics per city he ‘invades’ and the artist sometimes revisits the same city to carry out additional ‘invasion waves.’ Invader has also developed an intricate scoring system based on how successful the location of each mosaic is. This enables the artist to rank his invasions in order of success, turning the installation project into a game in and of itself. Each print in the Maps collection provides the score of the invasion it is mapping out, for example, Invasion De Paris achieved a score of 21760 compared to Plan For Invasion Of Los Angeles which only gained a score of 1890.