Better known under his pseudonym Takis, Panagiotis Vassilakis was born in Athens, Greece in 1925. His early interest in physics sparked an artistic career lasting over seven decades centered on magnetism and kinetics, taking art into the domain of science. The incorporation of magnets and electric currents took his work to new heights, making him a leading figure of the kinetic art movement in the 1960s.
In his twenties, the self-taught Takis discovered the works of Giacometti and Picasso, subsequently sparking his interest in art while concurrently dabbling in scientific experiments in his parent’s basement. In 1953, he worked in Brancusi’s atelier for several months and had begun living between Paris and London. It was during this time that he created his first kinetic works, Signals, largely inspired by the movement of radar antennas. The clashing of objects in these sculptures, as in his other works like Musicales, create sounds that produce irregular melodies and harmonies. For Takis, art and science were not dissimilar as both artists and scientists sought answers to universal questions.
Takis’ work has been extensively exhibited in prestigious venues around the world such as Documenta in 1977 and 2017, the Venice Biennale in 1995, and the Paris Biennale in 1985, winning the first prize. In the last decade, his work was exhibited at MACBA Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, the Tate Modern, London, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, and the Menil Collection, Houston. His work is collected by Centre Pompidou, Paris, the MoMA, New York, the Guggenheim Museum, New York, and the Tate, London, among many others.