The work by Parisian street artist and king of the mosaic, Invader, constitutes an instantly-recognisable re-appropriation of popular visual culture that makes use of the artist’s signature material: the humble tile. The value of Invader's prints and multiples have experienced a 38% compound annual growth rate over the last 5 years, with the typical price paid now reaching £7,097.
The highest price ever paid for an Invader painting was achieved in November 2019, when Astro Boy, Tk_119 (2014) sold for a staggering US$1,220,000 at Sotheby’s New York.
A graduate of the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Invader is known for placing his works in situ. Here we examine some of the 80s-obsessed graffiti artist’s the most expensive Invader pieces sold at auction to date, including his mosaics, the Rubikcubism series and others.
A visual tribute to iconic Japanese manga series Astro Boy, Tk_119 (2014) blew its sale estimate out of the park at Sotheby’s New York in November 2019, realising a total of US$1,220,000. The work by Parisian street artist and king of the mosaic, Invader, constitutes an instantly-recognisable re-appropriation of popular visual culture that makes use of the artist’s signature material: the humble tile.
A graduate of the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Invader is known for placing his works in situ. A version of this particular work once adorned the underside of a railway bridge in the Japanese capital, Tokyo.
Comprising 391 segments of Rubik’s Cubes, Rubik Space (2005) is one of Invader’s most significant mosaics. First exhibited in Spring 2005 at the exhibition Rubik Space, held at Galerie Patricia Dorfmann in Paris’s 4th arrondissement, it is the second work by the artist involving the use of the Rubik’s Cube – an iconic 1980s puzzle game well-known across the world for its 54 brightly-coloured squares.
With a sale estimate located between €400,000 and €600,000, the piece – which the artist describes as a ‘tableau-object’ or ‘object painting’ – realised €492,600 at Artcurial, Paris in December of 2020.
Reminiscent of Jeff Koons’s artful interventions in the annals of art history, Rubik Mona Lisa sees street artist Invader turn his hand to a veritable icon of the Italian Renaissance: Leonardo da Vinci’s internationally-recognisable painting, the Mona Lisa.
Obfuscating the surface of the revered painting only slightly, the work is one of Invader’s more complex pieces. Comprising an assemblage of tiles taken from the similarly iconic 1980s puzzle, the Rubik’s Cube, the work exceeded its sale estimate of €120,000-€150,000, realising a total of €480,000 in February 2020 at Artcurial auction house in the artist’s native Paris.
Made using individual tiles taken from the surface of the iconic 1980s toy, the Rubik’s Cube, Rubik Dalai-Lama (2008) is another record breaking work by Invader. Comprising 225 individual ‘cubes’, the work depicts Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, whose well-known features echo those of other works in Invader’s Rubik’s Cube series, such as Rubik Mona Lisa (Series Rubik Masterpiece). The artist first began to experiment with the Rubik’s Cube in 2005, when he produced Rubik’s Space. Sold in July 2021 at Artcurial in Paris, Rubik Dalai-Lama exceeded its price estimate by almost €70,000, realising €468,250 at auction.
One of Invader’s ‘Rubik’s Cube’ mosaics, 400 Chinese Cubes, depicts the instantly-recognisable features of Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
Comprising 400 individual tiles, each taken from the surface of the iconic 1980s toy, the piece was inspired by a 2008 journey the artist took to Nepal. Whilst in the Himalayas, Invader was moved by the teachings of Buddhism and decided to turn his practice of ‘pixelating’ to the religion’s most prominent figure. Created in the artist’s studio, located in the Parisian suburb of Montreuil, 400 Chinese Cubes realised €375,000 at auction at Christie’s, Paris in December of 2021.
In May 2019, Vienna (2008) set a new auction record for elusive Parisian street artist, Invader. Selling for a total of €356,000 at Artcurial, Paris, the mosaic marks a return to the artist’s roots as a guerrilla street artist. An example of his now iconic ‘invasions’ – small tile-based works affixed to the side of buildings in locations across the world – it depicts the Parisian’s trademark logo, taken from 1970s arcade game ‘Space Invaders’. Accompanied by a series of rigid lines constructed with black and blue tiles, this ‘invasion’ spans around 7 feet in width.
Alias HK-59 (2014) was created by French street artist Invader in Hong Kong. Consistent with the bold style of many of the artist’s mosaic pieces, it places the iconic ‘Space Invader’ character at its centre. Constructed using a number of ceramic tiles, the artist created this image using a large glass panel as a mount.
Originally, Invader had mounted the same image on a Hong Kong street, an act which prompted its removal by authorities. Once located opposite the Apple Store in Central Hong Kong, the image’s deep red colour is a reference to Chinese folklore. In March 2015, Alias HK-59 exceeded its sale estimate by almost HK$1,000,000, selling for a total of HK$2,680,000.
This piece is a copy (or ‘alias’) of an ‘invasion’ mounted to Paris’s Rue des Bourdonnais by Invader on the 8th of May 2012. Made up of ceramic tiles mounted to a Plexiglas surface, the work realised €251,000 at auction at Artcurial, Paris, in October 2016. Like other ‘aliases’, such as Alias HK-59 (2014), the artwork places Invader’s trademark logo at the centre of its composition. Making use of a variety of colours ranging from yellow and red though to green, navy blue, and salmon pink, the piece is principally concerned with contrast: a stylistic feature which would have enabled the original to ‘pop out’ at passers by.
Showcasing a central character from another iconic computer game, in November 2020 French street artist Invader’s Mario (2004) exceeded its pre-sale estimate of US$150,000-$200,000 and sold for US$252,000 at Sotheby’s New York.
Depicting the protagonist of Nintendo’s hugely successful Super Mario series in profile, this visually striking piece was previously housed at the Galerie Magda Danysz in the artist’s native Paris. Comprising a number of coloured tiles mounted on board, Mario is a standout example of the visual simplicity for which its creator, a graduate of Paris’s prestigious École des Beaux-arts, is now well-known.
This artwork by French street artist Invader combines its creator’s obsessions with 1980s arcade games, and the 1980s puzzle toy, the Rubik’s Cube. Unlike pieces such as Alias HK-59 or Alias PA-1030, Red Rubik Phantom (2007) reconstructs the likeness of a phantom from the 1980 arcade game ‘Pac Man’.
Marking a departure from the artist’s usual subjects – characters from the 1978 arcade game ‘Space Invaders’, the artwork was once part of a number of private collections located in New York City, USA. Doubling its pre-sale estimate, the piece attracted a princely NT$7,200,000 (£189,423) at a Ravenel International Art Group auction in December 2020.
Depicting Robert De Niro's character in the cult classic film Taxi Driver, directed by Martin Scorsese, this Rubik's cube mosaic was created by Invader in 2007. As can be seen among the ranks of Invader's most impressive sales, the artist mixes homage to cult classics and to spiritual and 'high art' in his Rubik mosaics; they offer a fascinating flavour of 20th and 21st Century culture. Offered in June 2022, by Bonhams auction house, this work achieved a final sale price of £183,000, one of the best prices Invader's work has ever achieved at auction in the UK.
Also offered by Bonhams, for auction later in 2022, Big Blue (2009) exceeded its high estimate, selling for £164,100.