Gallery  December 3, 2018  Jordan Riefe

Invader Comes off the Street and "Into the White Cube"

Jordan Riefe

Installation view, Invader: Into the White Cube, Over the Influence Gallery through December 23.

Invader has been in Los Angeles before, notably in 2011 when the anonymous French street artist was arrested while “invading” a site with his mosaic-tile figures based on the popular 1980s video game, Space Invaders. With works on street corners and walls in roughly 30 countries around the world, Invader could not be contained in a single gallery, until now. 

Into the White Cube is the literal-minded name of his new show at Over the Influence gallery in L.A.’s Arts District through December 23. It features Invader’s first works on canvas ever exhibited; pixelated fruit in one painting, hand signals in others, as well as a skull with a burning candle on it. 

Jordan Riefe

Installation view, Invader: Into the White Cube, Over the Influence Gallery through December 23.

“It’s the same to me,” the artist says about creating for the gallery versus the street. “In both cases my brain is focused on creating an artwork with the same amount of dedication. The difference is that one will end up in the street, and the other one in a gallery.”

Intent and context are fundamentally altered when any street artist moves “into the white cube.” The rebellious nature of the genre is neutered and conversation with the environment, silenced. It’s why Invader spends so much time deciding on a location when he performs what he calls “urban acupuncture,” like a pixelated portrait of The Dude, a bowler and middle-aged slacker from the classic film, The Big Lebowski, placed on the wall of a Koreatown bowling alley. It’s also why he attempted to launch one of his invaders into space on board a weather balloon, as documented in his 2012 film, Art4Space

Invader
Jordan Riefe

Installation view, Invader: Into the White Cube, Over the Influence Gallery through December 23.

Installation view, Invader: Into the White Cube
Jordan Riefe

Installation view, Invader: Into the White Cube, Over the Influence Gallery through December 23.

Installation view, Invader: Into the White Cube
Jordan Riefe

Installation view, Invader: Into the White Cube, Over the Influence Gallery through December 23.

Installation view, Invader: Into the White Cube
Jordan Riefe

Installation view, Invader: Into the White Cube, Over the Influence Gallery through December 23.

Installation view, Invader: Into the White Cube
Jordan Riefe

Installation view, Invader: Into the White Cube, Over the Influence Gallery through December 23.

“Good work is good work, whether it’s in the street or in the gallery,” says Over the Influence director Guy Rusha. “Obviously, there’s different hurdles to overcome in terms of hanging on a gallery wall or hanging on a street wall, but good work can be enjoyed wherever it is. I don’t think there’s a great difference between the street and the gallery.”

The show includes numerous mosaics, some made of Rubik's cubes, canvases and large-scale pin buttons with slogans like “Humanity Sucks!” In the first gallery is the aforementioned Dude, as well as a wall full of alias artworks ($20,000 - $300,000): copies of invaders and other icons he has left in cities around the world. Another gallery contains photos of the original works in situ. 

“I love art, artists, artworks, but like many people I’m not attracted by the way art is presented by the establishment. Most of the time it is elitist and boring,” Invader explains. “My feeling is that there are two art worlds; on one side, the one of creation with the artists trying to make the best work they can. And on the other side, the art market, which speculates on it. Personally, I try to focus on the first one and try not to be too confused by the second one.”

About the Author

Jordan Riefe

Jordan Riefe has been covering the film business since the late 90s for outlets like Reuters, THR.com, and the Wrap. He wrote a movie that was produced in China in 2007. Riefe currently serves as West Coast theatre critic for The Hollywood Reporter, while also covering art and culture for The Guardian, Cultured Magazine, LA Weekly and KCET Artbound.