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Our Space Invader

By SHELLEY LEOPOLD
Thursday, June 9, 2005 - 12:00 am
Photo by Gregory Bojorquez
Space Invader is not your conventional graffiti artist. For one thing, he’s from Paris. For another, he works alone and doesn’t run with a crew. No spray paint, wheat-paste, or supersized Sharpie markers involved. This guy does mosaics — really beautiful, intricate tiles of video game icons (Toshiro Nishikado’s Space Invader, 1978) — and they’re hidden all over the world. In fact, 106 of them are right here in L.A.: Nine of them live on the letters of the Hollywood sign and 15 more are planned around town before he concludes his visit. Our city is also the subject of his second publication, Invasion Los Angeles, which serves as a hip tour book complete with action photos and locations.

Invader has been doing this for nearly 10 years now and 80 to 90 percent of his outdoor pieces are still intact, he says, “unless someone has taken a hammer to it — I use high-quality materials.” He has been arrested many times, but skirts trouble for the most part by playing it cool. His philosophy is that he’s “leaving a gift to the city,” and who’s to say he’s not? Each piece is as meticulously recorded and planned as it is created and re-creations called “Aliases” (encased in resin, etched with the time, date and location of the original) are included in his gallery shows.

“RUBIKCUBISM,” opening at Sixspace on Saturday night, is Invader’s first major exhibition in North America. His tile mosaic concept has evolved and expanded to include the untraditional use of, yes, the Rubik’s cube, inspired by the mathematics of its color combinations and the simple fact that it’s a game. And he doesn’t cheat. He’s mastered the solution and each finished cube represents one color block in sculptures ranging from a dissected Super Mario to a self-portrait to a depiction of fragmented/nonfragmented hard drives. He’s also installing a 12-by-18-foot “Invader” figure out of cardboard boxes. What, you were expecting Rubik’s cubes? Give the guy a break, he’s only here for a week!


RUBIKCUBISM: A logical exhibition by Invader | Sixspace, 549 W. 23rd St. | June 11–July 9 | Booksigning June 11, 5–7 p.m.; reception, 7–10 p.m. | www.sixspace.com; www.space-invaders.com

 
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