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Mosaics

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Critical Review

Tiny mosaic tiles and his namesake videogame motif, Invader’s Mosaics series captures all that defines the French artist’s oeuvre. Here, it is not only the characters portrayed that instantly betray Invader’s signature, but also the medium of small mosaic tiles in which the pieces are made, which recall Invader’s public works.

Each work in the collection was made in conjunction with Invader’s public Space Invasion. Notably, every time the artist places a new work in a public setting, he also produces a so-called alias mosaic to be put on sale privately, to allow all his avid collectors to purchase his pieces. Each alias comes with an ID card recording the date and location of the original invasion. These aliases, he clarifies, are made in better quality than the public ones, made to last, but they are decidedly the copies, not the original work. However, he also claims that owning an alias is a way of symbolically owning the accompanying public artwork, even if these at times get destroyed or stolen, and therefore the act of owning an alias is complicit in the illegal invasion performed by the artist.

In addition to these, however, every time Invader invades a city with a new series of mosaics, throughout what he terms his Invasion Waves, he also produces a map which records the location of each piece and recounts the story and planning behind every invasion, called Invasion Guide. Indeed, whilst it might seem at first that Invader’s mosaics are placed in random or understated locations, the artist claims that it takes him weeks, at times even months, to find the perfect spot for each of his artworks. He terms this practice an urban acupuncture, and claims that each invasion requires him to design graphics, sometimes pre-assemble patches of tiles, and even study Google Street View to find the perfect spot.

In this collection, two works engage with the Invasion of Miami and Rome, both invaded 3 times, with respectively 85 and 73 public pieces. Invaderoma, as the title suggests, refers to the 2010 invasion of Rome, one of the two Italian cities to have fallen within Invader’s radar, together with Ravenna. The Invasion Guide was released in conjunction with an exhibition held at Wunderkammern, which presented various aspects of his work ranging from his prints to his Rubikcubism. Mission Miami was instead produced on the occasion of his 2012 Invasion and was released in an extremely limited edition of 50 copies.

Both Invasion Guides are peculiar in their hardcover, which features an arrangement of extremely minute mosaic tiles that recreate his world-renowned Space Invaders. Certainly, together with his aliases, and his Invasion Kits, these are as close as a collector could come to claiming possession of one of Invader’s public pieces, and they are unarguably as close as an Invader fan can get to enter the artist’s world and understand both his artistic practice, his strategies and his aims.