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September 4, 2009

{     Low Fidelity by Space Invaders     }    


This is a case in which the artist has become more famous than…er…the videogame his name was inspired by: the one and only Space Invader is back with a solo show at Lazarides Gallery Rathbone, central London.

We all know him for the small mosaic tiles applied to buildings all over the world: look carefully around you at about 3.5 meters from the ground and one will magically appear, whether in Katmandu, Varanasi or Mombassa (as well as the more prosaic Paris, New York and Sydney). A primordial form of street art before the word was even invented.

But this time this Frenchman is using something else to create his pixel fantasies, something by far chunkier but just as iconic: Rubik cubes.

A technique developed in 2005,the exhibition presents work done assembling Rubik cubes, but if you are thinking of three dimensional statues, you will be disappointed. Most of the work is meant to still look two dimensional: a flat image created on a surface made of cubes.


The best is still to come. As expected, you will find his space invaders rendered in Rubik, but also images that are a lot hard to read, made as they are by big analogical ‘pixels’ on Rubik canvases.

To help you read these images displayed at this show named Low Fidelity, ironically you must use the camera of a high-tech phone, able to squeeze the image to pixels manageable by the human eye. And there, on your small screen, you will see appear magically iconic images, mostly album covers by the like of Velvet Underground, the (since recently) ever present Micheal Jackson, Rolling Stones and more.

On another wall, something even more cryptic awaits you. And this time a simple camera phone will not see you out the situation: you truly must have a very high-tech phone with a bar code scanner in order to be able to read these 2D bar codes (those small black and white squares of pixels that you find nowadays in high brown galleries, on posh supermarket product and anywhere else the latest marketing gadget can be of use- read more about this technology, which as of now still lacks a friendly name). Space Invader square are about a thousand time bigger than the ones meant to be read by phones but the trick works nevertheless and you can unscramble his messages to read phrases like “This is art” (or something like that: my phone doesn’t even have a camera so I borrowed the phone of the gallery keeper, but not even his could read the 2D bar codes…. what a sad bunch of troglodyte loosers we are).


Cool, with new (the technology) and old (the Rubik cubes) mixed together, this exhibition one day may be considered a milestone for Space Invader. Very possibly in 5 years or so, Picasso's pink period will stand to Space Invader's Mosaic phase as Cubism stands to the Rubik moment. Genius!

Until September 17th, free entry!

By Tacita in Art, Reviews

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