Panayotis Vassilakis, known as Takis, was born in Athens on October, 25, 1925. Entirely 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 magnetism 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 his Signals series, tall antennas made from metal rods fixed to a small base, with various metal objects attached to the top.
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 through the use of magnets. The following year he presented Flying Man, a human body suspended in mid-air through magnetic force at the same gallery. He pursued his research creating the Telelumières, lamps of various shapes whose light was modified by electromagnets. These ideas were developed in 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 in urban space. Examples of this are 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. In 1995 Takis represented Greece at the Venice Biennale. In 2004 the Credito Siciliano gallery of Acireale presented a major retrospective of his work, a modified version of which was then shown at the Galleria Gruppo Credito Valtellinese. Takis died in Athens in 2019.