Invader – Roma 2010 & Other Curiosities
Those of you who read the blog regularly know that this summer street artist Invader hit the streets of Rome in July. I had quite a bit of fun photographing the mosaics that popped up across the city and tonight was the culmination with the opening of Invader’s show at Wunderkammern entitled “Roma 2010 & Other Curiosities.”
My main “curiosity” was to see how Invader would translate his work on the street into the gallery. The large main entryway of the gallery puts his work in the city on full display, with photographs (shot by the artist) detailing every mosaic he placed in Rome (66 for now….). Another small room displayed the Invasion maps he has created so far, which range from his first in Paris to the newest here in Rome. The map meticulously details the location of each Invader as well as a legend to tell you how many points each is worth. My favorite part are the ironic Invader stickers that say “Pronto Intervento” and “Sgombro Cantine.” Anyone who lives here will see companies putting these all over the place. There was a small corner with a selection of Invader aliases (a single replica of each mosaic he puts in the street that is then for sale), as well a some new Rubikcubism pieces inspired both by Italian art (his Caravaggio Medusa was my favorite) and his being featured on an episode of Futurama. In fact, in the basement of the gallery a clip of the episode of Futurama where one of the characters, Bender, places Invader mosaics across New York.
One of the most curious things in the show was something I’m told forms the beginning of a new project he is embarking on. A plexiglass container was constructed that shot colorful rubber bouncy balls out of an air tube. It seemed like something I remember seeing at the Museum of Science as a child. In fact, all the children at the show stood there mesmerized and if you didn’t catch yourself, you would be standing there for quite awhile while they whizzed around in the box. How the project will develop, I’m not sure, but I’m interested to see what’s next.
As I left the Invader show, I was impressed by the huge line of people waiting to arrive, especially as the gallery is in Torpignattara, an area that is still off the beaten track for most. The show is yet another sign that Rome is slowly moving toward embracing street art in a more mainstream fashion and it’s always wonderful to see that organizations like Wunderkammern can have success in bringing something high level here. When I arrived home I immediately cracked open my edition of the Rome Invasion Guide (just the fourth the artist has produced – the others are Paris, London, and Los Angeles). Full of images taken by the artist, both during the installation and after, the book made me realize why I enjoy Invader so much. In this one book, he takes you on a journey through the city of Rome. From the historic center to the outskirts of town, he did it all. There is the Palatine Hill, Campo de’ Fiori, the Jewish Ghetto and there is San Lorenzo, Torpignattara, Pigneto. Invader doesn’t just photograph the mosaic, but also the context in which is lives and through this, creates a living, breathing record of the city of Rome. And as those of you who read this blog know, that’s something I think should be highly prized.