Invader

Rubik Raw Power

Rubik Raw Power 2009

61.5 cm x 61.5 cm x 6 cm
121 Rubik Cubes

A pioneer of contemporary street art, Invader remains one of the best-loved figures on Lazarides' artist roster. The artist's mini-mosaics, inspired by the landmark 1978 arcade game Space Invaders, are among the most recognisable examples of the genre.

The artist "invades" cities worldwide, adroitly placing his tiled pieces in certain locations and awarding himself "points" based on the intricacy of the mural and the difficulty in placing it. "This," he said in 2011, "is the most addictive game I have ever played." He works without permission the vast majority of the time. The deeply personal, large-scale aspect of this ongoing artistic exercise can be likened to the psychogeographical experiments of fellow French artist Guy Debord. Invader's use of low culture in a high art conceptual project also has parallels with the Situationist movement in general. The invasions don't simply descend upon major cosmopolises, but also far-flung exotic locales such as Mombasa and Katmandu. In a metaphorical sense, his forces have razed his home city of Paris to the ground. The mosaics adorn each letter of the Hollywood sign and one has even materialised on the suit jacket lapel of former French Premier Jacques Chirac.

Invader has been arrested several times during these incursions, most notably in 2011 at Little Tokyo's Perez building in Los Angeles, in the run-up to MOCA gallery's Art in the Streets exhibition, in which his artwork appeared.

His gallery pieces feature a staple series which the artist calls "Aliases". These are replica mosaics set in Perspex accompanied by a certificate detailing the placement of the original. He has also used Rubik's Cube toys to create pixelated portraits of movie anti-heroes, album art and famous music photography, plus more esoteric subjects such as French anarchist Florence Rey.

These examples of "Rubik's Cubism", in the artist's words, were displayed at the 2007 London Invasion exhibition at what is now The Outsiders London, and 2009's Low Fidelity at Lazarides Rathbone. Other projects that illustrate the quirky nature of the artist include a waffle-making machine that dispenses Space Invader-shaped snacks, and a disco ball which reflects the artist's signature image onto the walls of any potential dancefloor. These were shown at the boutique exhibition Space Waffles Attack! at The Outsiders London in Christmas 2011. In 2012 a jury-rigged helium balloon equipped with a radio camera carried a mosaic into space, and a further example appeared on the underwater sculptures of Jason deCaires Taylor near Cancun, Mexico.

Invader is also noted for continuing to produce hobby-level products for his massed ranks of fans, including "Invasion Maps" in the style of the Michelin Guide and collectible sticker packs. He is heavily featured in the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, and rightly so.