Paris Invader Art

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October 1st 2019
Published: October 1st 2019
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Invader Art in Paris

Not all art in Paris is exhibited in the Louvre or D’Orsay or L’Orangerie, or within the walls of any museum. Although unnoticed by most tourists, Invader Art is displayed in plain view on the outside of nearly 1,200 buildings across Paris. If a person aims their eyes up a little while strolling Parisian cobblestones, he or she will eventually encounter the mosaics that an incognito artist has been installing throughout Paris since 1998. The artist’s identity is a secret and is known only as “Invader.” He has said his purpose in exhibiting his creations on outside walls is so that ordinary, working-class people can enjoy art.

Invader Art’s genesis is the once-popular 1970s’ arcade game Space Invaders, and the mosaics vary in size and theme. Although many pieces portray Space Invaders characters, subjects also include the Pink Panther, Mega Man, Spider Man and Popeye. There is even a pixelated Mona Lisa on a wall near the Louvre. His work has spread to 31 other towns in France, as well as several European cities, and has crossed the Atlantic to invade New York.

Not much is known about Monsieur Invader except that he is a French urban artist who graduated Paris’ prestigious Ecole de Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts), and whose parents think he works as a tiler in the construction industry. During interviews, he pixelates his image or wears a mask.

An app called Flash Invaders is available to download for smartphones, and participants gain points by taking photos of individual mosaics. The application authenticates the capture by employing, among other criteria, the GPS-determined geographic location.

Monsieur Invader has sold replicas of his pieces in auction for as much as $283,000, and theft of his work is on the upswing. Pictures of thieves posing as utility workers standing on ladders and prying the art from exterior walls can be viewed online, which Invader has said renders the pieces worthless.

Ten photos in all.

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