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‘”Home Sweet Home” by Invader’

by Jeff Hammond and Jeff Michael Hammond

Gallery Target

Closes Nov. 19

Since its origin in 1970s New York, when youths started “bombing” buildings and subway trains with stylized graffiti of their names and other messages, street art has morphed to encompass various media and subject matter. It has also become hot property in the global contemporary art scene.

The artist known simply as Invader started his career with work based on the iconic “Space Invaders” video game characters, from which he takes his nom de guerre. He began by sticking up images of invaders, made with tiles, around his native Paris, where the small mosaics can now be found in around 1,000 locations. He has also gone on to “invade” 40 different cities around the world — including Tokyo on a previous trip. He is currently holding an exhibition at Tokyo’s Gallery Target.

“I was interested in digital and started to use tiles as a way to make a bridge between digital pixels and analog,” says Invader, who actually has a background in fine art. “I began by fixing some tiles to canvas and then thought they would be the perfect medium to put up outside, as they are very resistant.”

A half dozen or so of these works line the wall of Target, ranging from a silver figure on a black background to those in multiple colors. The pixel/tile analogy led Invader to experiment with Rubik’s Cubes too, stacking them together and manipulating their colored blocks to create images. From his “Rubik Cubism” series, a small selection based on classic album covers from his childhood are on show.

Lacking certain key colors, the cubes create somewhat deteriorated versions of the covers but are nonetheless recognizable. Get too close and the images dissolve into a blur of square dots. Yet, look at them from a distance or, as suggested, miniaturized on your mobile phone viewfinder, and the images instantly gain more clarity.

Gallery Target is in Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, a 10-minute walk from Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line; admission is free; open daily 12 p.m. – 7 p.m., closed Sundays and holidays. For more information, call (03) 3402-4575 or visit www.gallery-target.com.