Sun, Aug 06, 2017 - Page 5 News List

Thieves strip ‘Space Invader’ mosaics from Paris walls


Thieves pretending to be Paris city workers have in the past few days stripped the French capital’s walls of pixelated works from French urban artist Invader, the city said on Friday.

A spokeswoman said that “more than a dozen pieces” from the artist have been torn from walls across the city.

Invader, whose real name or identity is unknown, produces pixelated works using bathroom tiles that hark back stylistically to early video games such as the 1978 Space Invaders.

Some of his “invasions” have resulted in him being questioned by police, but copies of his works have often sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Two years ago, his mosaic of 1970s American cartoon character Hong Kong Phooey sold at auction at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong for HK$2 million (US$256,000).

The city of Paris said it “has decided to file a complaint for abuse of functions,” because the two suspected thieves “were disguised as Paris city workers” in order to steal the mosaic works.

Authorities were alerted to the thefts on social media, with Parisians snapping pictures of the pretend workers on Twitter and asking why the city was removing the mosaics.

We “quickly realized that those were not our agents, nor our vehicles or our jackets,” the city said.

Invader on his official Web site previously addressed the issue of theft, saying that his pieces have been “removed, damaged or destroyed by individuals who seek to resell them.”

However, the artist added: “Given the type of tiles I use, to steal the work is impossible.”

“These individuals by removing the mosaics destroy the piece and then have to buy ceramics to repair or recreate the work,” he said.

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