Panayiotis Vassilakis (1925, Greece) , also known as Takis, was a self-taught Greek artist known for his kinetic sculptures. His early life was lived in the shadow of the Second World War (in which he fought in the Greek Resistance) and the Greek Civil War (1946 – 1949). Takis taught himself by reading about science, philosophy, poetry, mythology and the arts. Takis decided to become an artist when he saw sculptures by Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti. He was also inspired by the Ancient Greek sculptures that he saw around him in Athens. He began experimenting with plaster, making figures with elongated forms reminiscent of Giacometti’s sculptures. In 1958 Takis began to experiment with magnets and magnetic energy in his sculpture.
He exhibited his artworks in Europe and the United States. Popular in France, his works can be found in public locations in and around Paris, as well as at the Athens-based Takis Foundation Research Center for the Arts and Sciences. His work has been shown at the Venice Biennale, the MACBA, the Centre Pompidou and many other renowned galleries and museums. In 1988 he was awarded the French Grand Prix for sculpture. He saw sculpture as ‘following the indications of the matter’. Rather than molding or working a material into something, he shows us what is already there.