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Panayotis Vassilakis, known as Takis, was born in Athens on October, 25, 1925. Completely self-taught, he started making his first sculptures in 1946. Initially his work referred to Greek archaic sculpture, although it later became more abstract and inspired by physical phenomena such as magnetic force, and gravity. In 1954 he left Greece to live between Paris and London, where the following year he exhibited his sculptures at the Hanover Gallery. During this time he began work on the Signals series: this comprised high aerials made from metal reeds affixed to a small base, at the top of which various metal objects were attached.
In 1959 he exhibited his first Telemagnetic sculptures at the Galerie Iris Clert in Paris. These were metal objects tied to a nylon thread, remaining suspended in space by the use of magnets. The following year at the same gallery, he presented his Flying Man, a human body suspended mid-air by magnetic force. He pursued his research using Telelumières, lamps of various shapes whose light was modified by electromagnets. These ideas were developed into his musical sculptures exhibited in 1965 at the Galerie Alexandre Iolas in Geneva, where magnetism was used to produce repeated sounds. In 1967, Takis’s work was exhibited at the Howard Wise Gallery in New York, at the Centre national d’art contemporain in Paris in 1972, and at Documenta, Kassel in 1977.
In the 1980s he began to create large-scale installations and sculptures, showing his interest toward the urban space; such as the Signals series, in the Place de la Défense in Paris, executed between 1984 to 1987, or the transformation of the Beauvais aqueduct into a musical tower in 1992 by using a netting of vertical metal cables. The artist represented Greece for the 1995 Venice Biennale. In 2004 the Credito Siciliano gallery of Acireale presented a major retrospective of his work, which was then shown, with modifications, at the Galleria Gruppo Credito Valtellinese. The artist died in 2019.