John Fekner & Don Leicht (USA)15.11.2013 – 28.02.2014

The Continuing Story of
the Space Invaders

The Continuing Story of the Space Invaders consists of Green-Turn Green, READ (The End of Reading In A Straight Line) and Renegade Space Invaders. Ourintention was to create a message-driven project that was stark, lean andconcise. Is beauty only on the surface? Is it on the pavement? Is it on thestreet? On the glass? Perhaps on a screen? Could it potentially engage adialog about the differences of art making on the street compared to artexhibited within an indoor sterile space? Is it an observation, a critique or aquestion?

Throughout their careers, working together or independently, Fekner andLeicht explore a wide range of media from intimate poems on hand writtenpages, spray and automotive paints on steel and aluminum; to video andsoundscapes using digital tools and technologies. Their work andinstallations addressing social issues have been seen in the streets of NewYork, and exhibited in contemporary and alternative spaces, galleries andmuseums, as well as in private and public collections worldwide. Feknerand Leicht had their first solo exhibitions in Sweden in 1979 and 1983respectively.

Collaboration has long been one of my preferred methods of working—forstreet art, paintings, installations, video and music. I’ve worked with DonLeicht for over three decades. A cursory view of our images might first elicitskepticism or laughter. Hopefully, the viewer becomes engaged with thework. The ultimate goal is to rise above a superficial world filled withabsurdities and riddles. Will the human spirit be able to transcend thetrappings of social conditioning?
John Fekner

Through the years, we have been very fortunate to combine what we do. Iplay my instrument. Fekner plays his. And when the time comes, we playtogether. The greatest competition between us is to reach for the same goalaesthetically and conceptually; then communicate it through a collaborativeeffort.
Don Leicht

On Fekner & Leicht’s Your Space Has Been Invadedfrom Alan Moore’s “Tawkin' New Yawk City Walls” 2004 essay

Fekner has gone from doing site-specific work within the urban and exurbanlandscape to making digital art. This is a transition from the actual to thevirtual, from actual writing in landscape to writing in virtual space. Thistransition is marked by a painting of characters from the Space Invadersvideo game. The painting he made with Don Leicht, Your Space Is BeingInvaded, depicts the tiny characters of the Ur-arcade game, the first U.S.popular success and the avant-garde for hundreds more. The paintingappears in a 1983 artist’s book as part of a series of works that purvey a verydystopian view of television as “introverted escapism,” offering thesuggestion that kids might have to go to “library hospitals” to recover avestige of literate culture. When I first saw it, I took the Fekner and Leicht1982 painting Your Space Has Been Invaded to be about gentrification. Nowthe message seems broader. With the rapid emergence of the Internet, whatfiction writer William Gibson called cyberspace has become a virtual realitywhere many spend much of their waking lives.

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