Art Basel Miami Beach

Street Artist Invader to Appear in Public During Art Basel, Brings World Premiere of Art4Space Documentary

The anonymous artist Invader, known for his street art of mosaic tiles inspired by characters from video gaming's primitive 8-bit years of the late '70s, placed one of his tiled creations literally up in space earlier this year, using a high-tech weather balloon. He has made a 45-minute movie documenting the moment titled Art4Space, which will have its world premiere at the Colony Theater in Miami Beach during Art Basel Miami Beach 2012, hosted by the Miami International Film Festival and the Jonathan Levine Gallery, who represents Invader in NYC. And in a rare public appearance, Invader will be present for a Q&A session after the screening.

Invader sneaked onto the art scene in the late '90s when graffiti began to break through another level of relevance on the Paris streets. His porcelain tiles, which appeared neatly plastered on buildings or structures, a few feet over most pedestrians' heads, grabbed the eye and the heart. They depicted an era when charming video game characters were created in two dimensions with only a few squares of basic colors. Those who paid a quarter for three "lives" of Pac-Man or Space Invaders at an arcade could immediately relate.

Invader, whose true identity remains under wraps, experienced a bump in his stock when he was featured in the 2010 art documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. The Oscar-nominated film was directed by Banksy, a fellow street artist based in the UK who also prefers anonymity. As private and sometimes even government-owned spaces often provide them with their "canvases" without prior approval (Invader was detained in L.A. once), they sometimes break vandalism and trespassing laws for their art.

Invader's most recent project, however, entered a space above the earth's atmosphere. He shared a video clip on the web from the project a couple of months ago, which is the centerpiece of his short documentary, Art4Space. The mosaic hoisted into space features a wistful looking red space invader looking from the earth toward a nocturnal scene of stars. Invader attached the flying critter to a weather balloon and a video camera. As it glided into the stratosphere above the earth's surface, the balloon burst, sending the thing back down to earth. Is this symbolic of the end of the Space Invaders? After first appearing in 1995 signaling the start of "invasions," could they now be seeking a return to the stars from whence they came?

Well, if you can get an invitation to this world premiere screening, you'll be able to ask Invader himself. Rachel Bleemer, brand manager for the Miami International Film Festival, assures he will be present after the film's screening to take questions. Although do not expect him to reveal his face. "The artist will likely wear a mask to obscure his face and maintain his anonymity," stated Maléna Seldin, Associate Director of the Jonathan Levine Gallery, via email.

But will this man claiming to be Invader be the real deal? Bleemer says tickets are for friends of the New York gallery that represents him, and many of Invader's long-time Paris-based friends who know him prior to his alias were invited to the screening. "It's the world premiere," she adds.

The event is by invitation only and takes place Thursday, December 6, at 9 p.m., at the Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach. If you are one of the few lucky Miami International Film Festival members who received an invite, it is suggested you RSVP immediately, as seating is "extremely limited." Jonathan Levine Gallery will also present a selection of original mosaic artworks by Invader at Pulse Art Fair, running December 6-9 at The Ice Palace, 1400 North Miami Ave., Miami.

Follow Hans Morgenstern on Twitter @indieethos.

Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Hans Morgenstern has contributed to Miami New Times for too many decades, but he's grown to love Miami's arts and culture scene because of it. He is the chair of the Florida Film Critics Circle, and most of his film criticism can be found on Independent Ethos ( if not in New Times.