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Space

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Critical Review

Reflecting one of Invader’s biggest dreams, Space captures Invader’s fascination with outer space and utilises multiple mediums - including a waffle! For the past twenty years, Invader’s public project, Space Invaders, has carried out a literal world invasion, whereby the famous mosaic tiles have now been spotted in at least 35 cities all around the globe. Distinctive as it now has become, this ‘tentacular installation’ was not enough for the artist, who dreamt for long about being the first person to ever send his artworks into actual outer space: “Having spent the last fifteen years spreading space invaders at the four corners of the world, I dreamt of sending - or I should say return - one to space.”

The artist saw his dreams turn into reality on August the 20th, 2012, when his SpaceOne mosaic, here depicted in one of the prints, took off thanks to a helium balloon equipped with a camera personally built by the artist, a project he named Art4Space. As evidenced by the testimonial visual documentation provided by the camera, the ‘artisanal spacecraft’, in Invader’s words, managed to reach the stratosphere for a short time, before landing back on Earth, its status permanently altered as the first artwork to have ever been to - and returned from - space. To celebrate and divulge his accomplishment, the artist also released a short 25 minutes-long film presented at several film festivals, most notably at FILAF in Perpignan and Lo Schermo dell’Arte in Florence, and screened all over the world, from Miami to Tokyo to New York, Paris, London and Brussels.

With the fame brought to him by his Art4Space project, Invader was able to carry on a second, larger, experiment through the contribution of the European Space Agency. Having heard about his self-financed and designed project, the ESA encouraged Invader to create a mosaic art piece for the International Space Station. After several tests carried out on the artwork so that it would comply with the strict safety standards of the ISS, the 29th of July 2014 saw the successful launch of the Ariane 5 rocket, carrying with it a very special cargo, Invader’s Space2 mosaic. Space2 was then installed on the wall of the Columbus module, marking Invader as the first-ever artist to not only have returned an artwork from space but to have exhibited in space. As stated by the artist, this act returns the characters of the Taito video game to their own place of origin, space. At the same time, on Earth, Invader began the invasion of seven different ground bases of the European Space Agency, his works interspersed across Cologne and Frankfurt, Germany, Radu, Belgium, Noordwijk, Netherlands, Paris and Rome.

Thus, what began as a Space Invasion, understood as the marking and tagging of different urban environments, was turned into an actual invasion of outer space. As Invader reports, “From space, Space2 persists in its course around the Earth and completes 16 orbits per day!”, its position traceable through Invader’s World Invasion live account. This project, and the artworks here celebrating it, constitutes the apex of Invader’s artistic efforts, and consecrate him not only within the terrain of Street Art, but within the actual other-earthly realm of space.