8-Bit Invasions

Anonymous urban artist Invader’s tile mosaics in the shape of 8-bit video game characters (named ‘invaders’) can be found cemented and glued to building facades around the world – more precisely in 80 cities across 20 countries, totalling 4056 invaders as of today. Beginning with the artist’s home in Paris, ‘invasions’ have been staged in waves over the past 20 years from New York and London to Istanbul and Melbourne.

Fine Art: 8-Bit Invasions
Space Invader, created using a mosaic of tiles, Oxford Street, London / Alamy

The anonymous artist, who only appears in public masked, was inspired by the 70s and 80s arcade games Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Super Mario Bros. His pixelated little creatures are freed from inside the games and installed in public spaces in an effort to decontextualise art and bring it to those who do not have access to institutions. He calls these creatures “the perfect icons of our time, a time where digital technologies are the heartbeat of our world”.

While the artist is a graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts, one of the most renowned schools worldwide and attended by greats such as Géricault, Delacrois, Degas, and Renoir, his artistic practice (which some term graffiti or a game) aims to break from such institutions which he considers to be confining. At the same time, Invader considers urban spaces and institutions to be “two very complimentary sources of energy” and since 2000 has created mosaics for many exhibitions worldwide.

While most Space Invaders are found in highly populated and visible locations such as above sidewalks, highways, shopfronts, and crossings, there are also more covert locations in which one can discover a Space Invader, such as at the top of the Eiffel Tower. The highest located Space Invader is found at the International Space Station (408km altitude) and the lowest is found on the ocean floor of Mexico’s Cancun Bay, only accessible to experienced divers.

Invader estimates that about 15% of his artworks have been removed from public spaces, often by individuals hoping to sell them. To combat this, he has engineered

Fine Art: 8-Bit Invasions
(French, born 1969)
Invasion Kit #06: Runner 2007 mosaic tiles ed. 65/150, 17 x 20cm $12,000 – 18,000

defence tactics – the type of tile he now uses breaks very easily, so if a passer-by with malintent tries to deinstall a work they will be left with broken pieces of tile rather than a complete work.

The artist began selling limited edition ‘invasion kits’ on his website to support his ‘invasion waves’. These ready-to-use tile kits are now in high demand on the secondary market as they present an opportunity to both own a Space Invader and participate in the worldwide invasion of these little critters.

We are pleased to present Invasion Kit #06: Runner 2007 within our forthcoming Fine Art auction here in Sydney.
MARCELLA FOX / Sydney Manager

1. The Official Website of Invader, About,
2. Ibid.

July 2022