WEEKLY

ART INVADER
藝術入侵者

長久以來,社會一直爭論到底何謂藝術,又應由誰去界定甚麼是藝術呢? 存放於藝術館、博物館裡的作品,在典雅的廳堂展示固然體現出其備受認證,那是藝術無疑。但傳統的主流藝術,把藝術品用四面牆圍起,每個人接觸藝術前都要先付入場費,這種形式就存在着一道門檻,不是所有人都能跨越。20世紀未,另一形式的藝術——街頭藝術(Street Art)興起,街頭成為藝術家作畫的畫布,將藝術置於公共空間,普羅大眾都可接觸到。街頭藝術以其反叛、桀驁不馴的特質,打破主流藝術高高在上的傳統,傾向直接與公眾交流,同時不受限於正規藝術界的限制。發展至今,街頭藝術作品也開始登堂入室,間常在畫廊及博物館裡展出。

現正在法國巴黎The Musée en Herbe舉行的一個名為《Hello, My Game is…》的展覽,展出了當代街頭藝術界代表人物之一Space Invader的著名馬賽克藝術作品。透過法國街頭藝術家Space Invader,今期Chessman Post帶大家闖進街頭藝術的陣地,還原藝術的本來面目。

「Space Invader」這名字的背後處處透露着玄機,名字取自七十年代的經典街機遊戲《Space Invaders》(中譯:《太空侵略者》),Invader形容這款8位元電子遊戲是他成長那數位科技時代的象徵。最初他就是受到這款街機遊戲裡的粗製像素所啟發,在木板上把方形瓷磚粘在一起,製成他的第一幅馬賽克。傳統的馬賽克是由有顏色的玻璃碎片及碎石拼湊而成,大多涉及希臘神話及宗教題材,通常被用作室內裝飾藝術。有別於傳統馬賽克藝術,Invader的馬賽克作品卻採取一套嶄新的做法。在創作初期,Invader的馬賽克用方形瓷磚逐格逐格地拼湊出街機遊戲《Space Invaders》中的那個擁有簡陋像素的侵略者圖像,然後把那象徵電玩遊戲界流行文化的圖像放置於街頭。他其後的作品,開始出現其他懷舊電子遊戲的經典角色例如馬里奧、食鬼等等。「食鬼」標誌更成為他的個姓簽名。每格瓷磚看似是一顆像素,當作品放置出來,就彷如那些存在於虛擬遊戲世界的人物出現在現實世界中一樣。

「Space Invader」的另一重意思,是Invader一個由1998年開始運作至今的藝術項目的代號。這個代號裡的「Space」意思不是指太空,而是指「Public Space」(公共空間)。Invader視自己為「入侵者」,以馬賽克藝術「入侵」不同城市的公共空間。由自己的家鄉巴黎開始,他的「侵略版圖」逐漸擴展至世界各地的主要城市包括洛杉磯、紐約、香港等等,至今他已「攻佔」了合共七十二個城市,留下約三千五百幅馬賽克。在「侵略」一個城市之前,Invader都會先用上兩至三星期去感受當地的文化脈搏,嚴選合適的地點,之後才落手創作,所以作品都融合了當地的文化色彩。顯然地,他這藝術性的「侵略行動」是經過深思熟慮及周詳計劃的。Invader會先在室內製成馬賽克作品,通常單人匹馬出動,套上面具,並帶上一把鐵梯、玻璃膠與白英泥,然後秘密地在目標地點用迅雷不及掩耳之速度裝置其作品,所以人們很難會看到他的作畫過程。當第二天早上,你抬頭發現建築物的外牆上一夜之間出現馬賽克藝術作品,你才驚覺「Invader曾經來過!」有趣的是他每次出動時戴的面具都不盡相同,花樣百出,包括有V怪客、黑武士、忍者龜等等,因此前面提到的巴黎展覽除了他的畫作,亦有展出這些他曾帶著出任務的面具。至於Invader最驚險最狼狽的一次「侵略行動」,莫過於那次在洛杉磯荷里活裝置作品的經歷。他需要先闖入洛杉磯城市公園,爬上「HOLLYWOOD」的字樣上。在他裝置作品的同一時間,護林員用擴音器警告他「請儘快離開!」、「我們已經拍了你的照片,你即將被拘捕!」更誇張的是,正當他裝置完作品、打算迅速離開現埸時,竟然被直升機追蹤、當場被逮捕及被控以蓄意破壞,最終以繳交罰款來平息事件,這也是他少數被警察拘捕的經歷。

香港作為其中一個國際大都會,又怎會不成為Invader的「入侵目標」、成為他作畫的畫布呢?事實上,Invader曾經先後五次以藝術「入侵」香港。不得不提到他在港創作的功夫圖像。其中一幅馬賽克描繪了一個功夫小子提起腳,踢向一個侵略物。另一幅馬賽克則是一隻來自七十年代卡通片裡的功夫狗Hong Kong Phooey。這兩幅功夫題材的馬賽克都旨在向李小龍及中國功夫致敬。李小龍是Invader成長年代的回憶,所以在Invader眼中,香港就是「李小龍城」。此外,Invader也在中環這個金融重鎮、銀行大樓的附近裝置了幾個金色和紅色的金錢標誌,所使用的色彩背後包含中國五行元素裡的火及土元素。在14年Invader的馬賽克在香港遭受到政府火速殲滅,引起各界嘩然,但馬賽克藝術的「病毒」已成功感染到香港人,港人組織網上群組和街頭藝術保衞隊,甚至自發進行修復。

從Invader的視點窺探街頭藝術世界,發現他構思、創作、安裝,整個程序根本與佈置藝術展覽無異,只是藝術平台不是美術館,而在公共空間。次文化衝擊主流文化從來都並非易事。而街頭藝術,從過往被視為罪惡的街頭塗鴉,到現在於當代藝術界佔一席位,所遭遇的阻力也絕對不少。甚至乎到了今時今日,街頭藝術仍然在經歷創作、清理、再創作的必然生態。或許,街頭藝術的存在就是為了給世人一個啟示—藝術本應無邊界,本應雅俗共賞,本應屬於全人類的。

撰文:鍾璐詩
相片:網上圖片
美術:王曉澄

For so long, the definition of art and the question that whom should define it have remained controversial in the society. For any artwork that is exhibited in museums and galleries, it is highly authorized and undoubtedly art. In mainstream traditional art, artworks are surrounded by walls in which people are required to pay the entry fee before coming into contact with art. This form of art has a threshold that not everyone is able to cross it. In the late 20th century, street art has had a rapid rise to popularity as an alternative form of art. The streets have become canvases for artists to create their artworks. As the artworks are placed in public spaces, they are accessible to the general public. The rebellious nature of street art breaks with the superior nature of mainstream traditional art in the way that street art tends to directly interact with the public without the restrictions by formal art industry. Nowadays, street art pieces are also exhibited in galleries and museums.

Currently at Le Musée en Herbe in Paris of France, an exhibition named “Hello, My Game Is…”is displaying the mosaic art pieces by Space Invader, the already famous name in the contemporary world of street art. Through investigating the French street artist Space Invader, Chessman Post will lead us into the world of street art, returning art to its true nature.

The name “Space Invader” is full of implications. Invader took his name from the classic arcade game “Space Invaders” in the 1970s. Invader described this 8-bit video game as the icon of digital technology era of his time. He got inspired by the crude pixilation shown in this arcade game and he created his first mosaic by gluing the ceramic tiles together on wooden boards. Traditional mosaics were composed of small pieces of colored glass and stones. The mosaics, mostly on the theme of Greek mythologies and religion, were only used as interior decorative art. Invader has applied a brand new method in creating his mosaic pieces, which is different from traditional mosaics. Invader made the image of crudely pixelated villains in the arcade game “Space Invaders” out of square ceramic tiles at the beginning. Then he installed this pop culture icon of video game industry on the streets. Subsequently, classic characters in nostalgic video games like Pac-man and Mario have appeared in his mosaics. The figure of Pac-Man has become Invader’s personal icon. Every ceramic tile resembles each pixel. When the mosaics were installed on the streets, it was just like the video game characters in virtual world did appear in reality.

On the other hands, the name “Space Invader” is the code for one of Invader’s art projects which has run since 1998 and still continue nowadays. “Space” in the code means “public space”, instead of the astronomy meaning which refer to “Outer Space”. Invader sees himself as an “invader” who “invades” the public space in different cities with mosaic art. Starting from his hometown Paris, Invader gradually expands his “invasion” to the main cities in the world including Los Angeles, New York and Hong Kong. Up till now, he has “invaded” seventy-two cities in total, leaving behind about 3,500 mosaic pieces. Before “invading” a city, Invader usually spends two to three weeks experiencing the local culture. Locations are carefully chosen before Invader creates his mosaic pieces. As a result, his mosaic pieces are blended with local culture. Obviously, Invader has a thoughtful plan before his “artistic invasion”. After finishing the mosaic pieces indoors, he usually goes out alone with his mask and brings along an iron ladder, a bottle of glass glue and some white cement with him. Secretly and swiftly, he installs his mosaic pieces on his destination, therefore, it is difficult for people to notice his art creation process. Not until the next day when you look up to the outer wall of a building and spot the mosaic pieces being installed overnight, you come to realize that “Invader came last night!” Interestingly, every time when he goes out for a mission, he wears varied masks including Guy Fawkes, Black Warrior, Ninja Turtles, etc. Therefore, apart from his mosaic pieces, the masks that he wore in the missions are also displayed in the aforementioned exhibition in Paris. The experience of installing mosaic pieces in Hollywood of Los Angeles was the most thrilling “invasion” for Invader. At that time, he intruded into Los Angeles City Park and climbed up the “HOLLYWOOD” installation. When he was installing the mosaic there, the park ranger warned him with a loudspeaker, “Leave the location immediately!” and “We have your picture…you’re gonna be arrested.” He promptly left the location as soon as he finished placing the mosaic. Surprisingly enough, he was chased by helicopters, arrested by the police and charged with vandalism. The incident ended with him paying the fine. This is one of the very few experiences that he got caught by the police.

As one of the international cities, it is hard for Hong Kong not to become the target of Invader and his canvas for creating mosaics. In fact, Invader has “artistically invaded” Hong Kong for five times. The Kung Fu masters’ artworks installed by Invader in Hong Kong are worth being mentioned. One of the mosaics shows a Kung Fu fighter kicking an invader figure. Another mosaic is Hong Kong Phooey, a Kung Fu-fighting dog from a 1970s American cartoon series of the same name. Both of the mosaic pieces aim at paying tributes to Bruce Lee and martial arts. Bruce Lee has evoked the past memory of Invader, therefore to Invader, Hong Kong is the city of Bruce Lee. Moreover, Invader placed a few dollar signs in gold and red colors around the bank buildings in Central, the financial center of Hong Kong. The colors reflect the fire and earth elements in Chinese Five Elements system. In 2014, Invader’s mosaics were destroyed swiftly by the government in Hong Kong, provoking a public outcry. But it is clear that viruses of mosaic art have infected people in Hong Kong in which they formed online groups, became defenders of street art as well as repaired the artworks by themselves.

Peeking into the world of street art with the eyes of Invader, we come to realize that the entire process of ideas generation, creation and installation by Invader has no difference from organizing an indoor art exhibition. The only difference is that Invader organizes his art exhibition in public space, but not in an art museum. It is never an easy task for subculture to challenge against the mainstream culture. Street art, originated from graffiti as a subversive culture in the past, has earned its place in the contemporary art world. It has faced a lot of resistance throughout the years. Until now, street art is still experiencing the mechanism of creation, clean-up and re-creation. The existence of street art may give an epiphany for human being that art belongs to all people and should be appreciated by all without any boundary.

Written by: Rose Chung
Photo: Internet
Art: Agnes Wong

ISSUE #150

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