What is street art and what can be the definition of street art

Invader /   Unknown

France 1969

Urban Art, Street Art, Urban Interventions


January 14, 2014
Behind the pseudonym of Lor Dethal lies Nemanja Torlak, a writer for Widewalls intrigued and moved by diversity in art and in the lives of those who create it. It is often the unexpected that come forth and surprise us, and art is a world that allows it and makes it possible. David beats the Goliath daily, and writing about it is a pleasure.

There are many artists that hide their true identity in contemporary times, especially in the domain of street art. The reasons for such an action are varied and though most of them manage to keep their names and characters unknown to the world, their work resonates throughout the streets across the globe. Widely known to the public regardless of his hidden identity, Invader puts up iconic installations in cities around the world based on popular 8-bit video games from the 1970s and 80s. Facing both acceptance and denial by the inhabitants of the places he “invades,” Invader keeps his practice going in the service of the townsfolk, providing artwork that can be seen free of ticket fees.

Invader - NY_174, New York, 2015 pts news home projects french 2016 contact
Invader – NY_174, New York, 2015

Invader from the Outer Space

Born in 1969, the well-known French urban artist grew up playing video games and though many kids of today can relate, the games of the time had a “slightly” different visual form. Made with 8-bit graphics that was common of the era, the games influenced the artist to portray the characters present in them in the suitable form of mosaics, representing each pixel with a tile. More than just the subject of his work, the artist’s pseudonym derives from one such game titled Space Invaders, and the artist often goes as far as to state in interviews that he attended a tiling school on Mars (he, in fact, is a graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris). Placing his works across the streets from Hong Kong to New York, he refers to these postings as “invasions” as he installs various 8-bit characters in publicly visible places.

The pseudonym of Invader derives from the 8-bit video game titled Space Invaders

Invader - HK_19, Hong Kong, 2001 pts news 2013 2014 score 2011 2007 privacy terms log invade 2000
Invader – HK_19, Hong Kong, 2001

The Site of Invasion

The biggest project that encompasses much of his artistic oeuvre started out back in 1996 and it includes “invasions” of major cities around the world. Much like in the game version of the story, the first wave of invasion included little recognizable aliens and Invader started out with portraying them in his home city in 1998. The invasion quickly spread across 31 other cities across France and since then, a total of 60 cities in 33 different countries have been invaded by his artwork. Seeing himself as a hacker spreading this 8-bit virus, Invader’s work appeared on 6 of the 7 continents publicly displaying iconic video game characters like Pacman, Mario Princess, and of course, the aliens from the Space Invader.

However, not everyone is fond of the works Invader puts out on certain locations; his own estimate of the works that have been removed from their placements is about 15% of the early placed works. Whether taken down by building owners, thieves or fans, Invader battles the issue by putting his pieces in less accessible positions, high above the ground. Much to the disappointment of both the artist and city residents, the government would sometimes get involved and remove the pieces from certain public places. Regardless, the testament of Invader’s invasion of the world’s metropolises stands to this day and can be seen in subtle residues of the 8-bit virus steadily spreading from the virtual world into reality.

Invader spreads the invasion of mosaical prints through the city streets

Invader - NY_167, New York, 2015 pts news 2013 2014 score 2011 2007 privacy terms log invade 2000
Invader – NY_167, New York, 2015

Invade at All Costs

Hacking into the city property is anything but an easy job to perform. The pieces Invader puts up are placed there illegally and he’s seen the inside of a jail cell more than once. Believing that the galleries and museums are less than accessible to everyone, he accepts the risks that come with the territory and makes the city his canvas, gifting his work to the people. Though we may not know his name or the look of his face, the pixels of the Invader leave a lasting impression on the viewers across the globe, summing up into a pretty picture.

The artist is represented by Verso Contemporary Art, Ministry of Walls, LAZARIDES London, iDroom, Hang-Up Gallery in London, Gregg Shienbaum Fine Art in Miami, GraffitiStreet, Galerie Brugier-Rigail, Dope! Gallery, Artsuggest.com, Art is Just a Four Letter Word.

Invader lives in Paris.

Featured image: Invader. All images credit the artist.

YearExhibition TitleMuseum/GallerySolo/Group
2016Still Here, A Decade Of LazaridesLazarides, LondonGroup
2015Wipe OutHOCA Foundation, PMQ, Hong KongSolo
2014Art Alliance, The ProvocateursChicago's Block 37 Group
2013Les Bains / artists residency Galerie Magda Danysz, ParisGroup
2013Back to Earth. Die Wiederentdeckung der Keramik in der Kunst. Herbert-Gerisch Stiftung, NeumünsterGroup
2013Urban Art Biennale 2013 Urban Art Biennale, VölklingenGroup
2013ART4SPACE Screening (at Landmark Theatres Sunshine Cinema)Jonathan LeVine Gallery- NY, New York, NY 10011 Solo
2012Street Art: The New Generation Kunsthallen Brandts, OdenseGroup
2012Group Exhibition Galerie Le Feuvre, ParisGroup
2012Street Art – The New Generation Pori Taidemuseo / Pori Art Museum, PoriGroup
2012BXL 2012 - DérivesAlice, Belgium Solo
2011Invader 1000 Galerie Le Feuvre, ParisSolo
2011Paris Forever 100th exhibition of the gallery Galerie Magda Danysz, ParisGroup
2011Untagged (the white wall show) IKON Ltd, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2011Chrome Galerie Le Feuvre, ParisGroup
2011Attack of the Space WafflesThe Outsiders London, United Kingdom Solo
2010Viva la Revolucion: A Dialogue with the Urban Landscape Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego - MCASD Downtown, San Diego, CAGroup
2010At the edge Portsmouth Museum of Art, Portsmouth, NHGroup
2010Five Year Anniversary Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2010Roma 2010 and other curiositiesWunderkammern, Lazio, Italy nSolo
2010Never Can Say GoodbyeThe former Tower Records at Broadway and West 4thGroup
2010NEVER RECORDS: Part of No Longer Empty's Never Can Say GoodbyeThe former Tower Records at Broadway and West 4thGroup
2009Invader Lazarides Gallery, London (England)Solo
2009Top IO Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2009From Style Writing to Art (Part 2 - Shanghai) 18Gallery Shanghai - Bund18, ShanghaiGroup
2009Grifters show Lazarides Gallery, London (England)Group
2009From Style Writing to art Galerie Magda Danysz, ParisGroup
2009Hitchhiker to the galaxy Daejeon Museum of Art, DaejeonGroup
2009Graffiti - etat des lieux Galerie du Jour agnès b, ParisGroup
2009Grow UpLazarides Rathbone Place, United Kingdom Group
2009Low FidelityLazarides Rathbone Place, United Kingdom Solo
2008SCION PRESENTS: INSIDERS, OUTSIDERS & THE MIDDLEScion Installation LA Gallery, Culver City, CA 90232 Group
2007Space Invader's Invasion London and Rubik Bad Men II Lazarides Gallery, London (England)Solo
2007The Streets of EuropeJonathan LeVine Gallery- NY, New York, NY 10011 Group
2005Rubik Space Galerie Patricia Dorfmann, ParisSolo
2003Space Invader Galerie Magda Danysz, ParisSolo