Pioneering sculptor Takis dies at age 93


World-renowned Greek sculptor and installation artist Takis has died, the art and science research foundation he founded in 1986 has announced. He was 93 years old.

Born Panagiotis Vasilakis in Athens in 1925, Takis moved to Paris in the 1950s to pursue his passion and create his first kinetic sculptures, which are the subject of an ongoing exhibition at the Tate in London.

His interest in magnetic energy and the forces of nature deepened in the mid-1950 and early 60s, leading him to the 1960 career milestone, when he performed “L’Impossible – Un Homme dans l’Espace” (The Impossible – A Man in Space) with South African poet Sinclair Beiles at the Iris Clert Gallery in Paris.

A scholarship from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) took him to the United States in 1968, where he created his first electromagnetic sculptures and started experimenting with hydrodynamic energy, while his return to Paris in 1974 saw him embark on a study of the laws of attraction, producing his so-called “Erotic” sculpture series.

Takis returned to Greece in 1986, where he established the Research Center for the Arts and the Sciences in Gerovouno in Attica, with the official inauguration taking place in 1993.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted his condolences to the sculptor’s family, describing Takis as a “worldwide Greek. A pioneer, heretical, inexhaustibly creative, he opened new avenues in art.”

“For more than 70 years Takis was a pioneer, an artist whose childish curiosity of the forces of the universe never ended,” Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said in a statement.

“Thanks to his multifaceted creative genius, his generosity and his incredible intuitiveness, Takis was ahead of his time, a fact that contributed to his international success,” the Takis Foundation said in its announcement.

“Today, we have all lost a great spirit… The greatest tribute we can pay to him today is to continue down his visionary path, where – to quote Takis – ‘everything is mind and motion,’ so as to propagate his singular legacy,” it added.