In 1955, during a period when Takis lived between Paris and London, he was impressed by the radars, aerials and technological installations at Calais train station. He drew his inspiration on the spot, on the concrete floor, in chalk. In Paris, he began working on the materialisation of his idea, creating his first “Signals” made of wrought iron, a material he continued to use throughout his artistic career.
Initially, his “Signals” bore elements of everyday life, while after the early 1960s, he started creating the first “Light Signals” which incorporated lights and beacons. Gradually, the “Signals” changed form, gaining greater flexibility. He often placed fireworks at the top, staging happenings in the squares of Paris. Other times, he decorated them with random found objects, so called objets trouvés, which moved in the wind and, as they hit against each other, produced unique sounds creating a sense of vibrating strings.
The internationally renowned sculptor Panayiotis Vassilakis, known by the pseudonym Takis, was born in Athens in 1925. Self-taught by conviction, he established himself as a kinetic art innovator. Through his works he managed to create an unbreakable connection between art and science, combing in his sculpture elements of both nature and physics.
His childhood and early adolescence were marked by the war, the German occupation and Greek civil conflict. Aged around 20, he created his first sculptures inspired by the ancient Greek civilisation but also by sculptures by Picasso and Giacometti. He arrived in Paris in 1954 and joined Brâncuşi’s studio for a few months, while over the next three years or so he travelled and lived between Paris and London and was inspired to create his first kinetic works.
A multifaceted and inventive artist, he studied hydrodynamic energy and became involved in creating hydromagnetic and electromagnetic sculptures. He experimented with all the environmental and natural elements which often cannot be detected with the naked eye, such as magnetic forces and the forces of magnetic fields, founding elements of his artistic oeuvre.
Works by Takis are exhibited in permanent collections and museums throughout the world, including the Centre George Pompidou, the Palais de Tokyo, the Jeu de Paume in Paris, the ΜoΜΑ and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Menil Collection in Houston, the Tate Modern in London, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.