Thieves strip 'Space In­vader' mo­saics from Paris walls

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Thieves pre­tend­ing to be Paris city work­ers have in the past few days stripped the French cap­i­tal's walls of pixel­lated works from French ur­ban artist In­vader, the city said on Fri­day. A spokes­woman said "more than a dozen pieces" from the artist have been torn from walls all around the city. In­vader, whose real name or iden­tity is un­known, pro­duces pixel­lated 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 ($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 pre­vi­ously ad­dressed the is­sue of theft on his of­fi­cial web­site, say­ing that his pieces have been "re­moved, dam­aged or de­stroyed by in­di­vid­u­als who seek to re­sell them." But 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." Au­thor­i­ties have not said whether an in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been opened.

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