Space Invader Mosaics Go Missing
Street artists are well known in Paris, even if their true identities remain a secret. Perhaps it is fitting that anonymous thieves have stolen highly valuable anonymous street art. To the dismay of many Parisians, Space Invader murals were removed from buildings by a group of individuals posing as city workers. The men did so in the light of day, appearing to work under authorization and telling those who asked that they were employed by the city. However the Paris City Council did not order the maintenance of the mosaics or their removal. After viewing photos of the theft, officials determined that the individuals were not wearing official uniforms or using official vehicles. This has prompted Paris authorities to "file a compliant for abuse of functions."
Though the Parisian police have not stated whether or not they have opened a case on the missing art work, distraught art lovers have taken to sharing photos of the thieves on social media in the hope that someone will recognize the men and turn them in.
Invader, the pseudonym of the artist who began creating the murals in the early 1990s, is also disturbed by the thefts. In earlier interviews, he told reporters that his artwork was impossible to remove from buildings because of the way the ceramic tiles were affixed to the structure. In a way he is correct. The mosaics must be completely dismantled in order to remove them. So though the mosaics can be removed their artistic integrity cannot be saved. It is believed the thieves will attempt to recreate the pieces and sell them, but the prices they fetch will be much lower than they may have anticipated. Invader points out that it is relatively impossible to authenticate the tiles once the artwork has been dismantled.
Invader's pieces are worth up to £216,000 but only if intact and authorized. For Parisians who have long admired the video-game inspired designs, the artwork is priceless. Its removal is upsetting.
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