Invader : "Masterpieces"
March 16 - April 15, 2017
In January 2016, a collector enthusiastically told us about an unusual and outstanding discovery that he had made. A few days earlier, he had found works that he knew but had completely forgotten about...
...And no wonder. For several years, the works had been lying on the floor in an inner courtyard of a Paris building, peacefully living their lives of mosaics on panels. Quivering at the rediscovery of these pieces, he asked their owner to meet us. We immediately understood the importance of what they presented to us: here were four of the first mosaics created by Invader in 1997, before the invasion. It was therefore imperative to organise a befitting event at the gallery to present these historic works to our collectors, art lovers and Invader’s fans. The event, scheduled for March 2017, will showcase these four works from 1997, dated and signed by the artist, together with more recent, significant works. The exhibition entitled Masterpieces is not intended to be a retrospective but an occasion to reveal hitherto unknown works to the public, as well as other important works, created between 1997 and 2014.
Invader, since 1997
When we talk of Street Art, we inevitably list graffiti, collage, murals, stencils and lastly, mosaic tiling. All these disciplines have several representatives, except for the last one. The only proponent of in situ mosaic tiling, Invader, is by himself a major part of the definition of Street Art. Although no one knows exactly who he is, everybody has already seen his works. He probably is, with Banksy, the world’s most renowned urban artist. And for those for whom his name will not rings game stuck in the top of a street is very familiar.
However, the artist did not begin with the street. In 1997, Invader created his very first mosaics inspired by image pixelation. For example, by following the encrypted images of Canal+, the TV pay channel, in particular the X-rated films broadcast on the first Saturday of the month, or pixelating existing pictures using IT tools, Invader, accompanied by the painter Jean Marc Dallanegra, created his first works by gluing squares of ceramic tiles on wooden boards. These boards were not displayed in the street, but were sold on the flea market in Vanves where the visuals were even put on T-shirts. This has a certain charm when we realize that when they are viewed from several meters away, the pixelated images – sometimes pornographic – become perfectly legible.
1997 was therefore a pivot year for Invader. It marked the beginning of his career, but not the beginning of the invasion. This career was first thought up around pixelation, but was mothballed for a while as he worked on the global invasion project. It regained its full force when the artist created Rubikcubism in 2005.
The earthling Invader began his invasion in 1998. The Louvre, the Hollywood hill, the walls of Paris, Montpellier (with fellow artist ZEVS), and in random order, Aix-en-Provence, Frankfurt, London, Miami, Hong Kong, Rome, New York, Los Angeles and Vienna, the underwater depths of the Bay of Cancún and outer space with the International Space Station. Twenty years on, he has affixed more than 3,400 mosaics worldwide in nearly 70 cities. These mosaics, which have all been archived by the artist, are sometimes noted in maps and Invasion guides, published when Invader carries out a large-scale action in a city. Paris, London, Miami, Los Angeles, Rome and Hong Kong therefore each have their Invasion guide. And Paris can be particularly proud as it can boast of being the only city to which the artist has dedicated two books. Today, more than 1,200 mosaics are spread over the capital’s twenty districts.
Galerie LE FEUVRE has worked with Invader for a long time. Between 2010 and 2015, it represented the artist in France. In 2011, the exhibition 1000 was organized to celebrate the 1000th mosaic to be affixed in Paris. The exhibition was held in La Générale building and at the gallery, and revealed installations, photographs, Space Waffles, Speed Balls, signposts, Rubik’s Cubes, Aliases… Invader made his entire universe accessible to the French public.
By digging up, in addition to more recent works, these four works dated 1997, Galerie LE FEUVRE presented to art lovers, the many fans of Invader and collectors, the beginnings of a career that has already spanned twenty years and adorned walls from all over the world.
Jonathan Roze — preface of the exhibition catalog: Invader: Masterpieces