Born in Athens, Greece, in 1925, Panayiotis Vassilakis, known as Takis, is one of the most prominent personalities of both international and Greek art scenes. A pioneer of kinetic art, his artistic path started in a basement workshop after the end of World War II, when he was 20 years old. Inspired by Greek culture, Picasso and Giacometti, his early sculptures were busts made from plaster and sculptures made from wrought iron. In 1954, Takis moved to Paris where he spent a few months at the Brancusi atelier. For the three years after that, Takis travelled and lived between Paris and London, where he drew inspiration and created his first kinetic works.

 

Impressed by the radar antennas and other technology that adorned the train station in Calais, he created his first 'SIgnals'. From 1955-1965, Takis experimented with all environmental and natural elements that surround us, but are unable to be indentified with the naked eye. He explored magnetic forces and fields, and experimented with electricity, sound and light, like other Neo-Realist artists of 1960's Paris. Influenced by the aforementioned elements, but also by cosmic powers and communication with the beyond, he created 'Telesculptures', 'Telepeintures' (Telepaintings), 'Telelumieres' (Telelights), 'Cadrans' and 'Musicals'.

 

In 1968, Takis moved to Massachusetts, where he was invited to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a researcher's scholarship from the Center for Advanced Visual Studies. During that time, he also co-founded the Art Workers Coalition, with the aim of defending artists' rights against exploitation by galleries, curators and museums. Most notably, was when Takis barged into the Museum of Modern Art, in New York, in order to withdraw his work.

 

Takis' works are in private and public collections around the world including the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, New York; the De Menil Collection, Houston, Texas; Tate Modern, London; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice.