Portrait and interview of sculptor Takis, in the context of an exhibit that is dedicated to him at the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume.
A sculptor born in Athens in 1925, Panayotis Vassilakis, nicknamed Takis, is part of the diaspora of Greek artists who went to Paris to escape the consequences of civil war. From 1942 to 1949 Greece was in the grip of bloody conflict that pitted Communist revolutionaries against the government supported by England and the United States. Following the example of the painters Koulentianos and Xenakis, Takis decided to leave to work in France and went to join the great renovators of 20th-century sculpture like Brancusi and Giacometti.
His research was based on the exploration of the immaterial and energy, that he took the gamble of introducing into the static universe of sculpture. From 1955, magnetism, sound, light, engines entered into his composition of the series Signaux, vertical iron rods crowned with metallic pieces. 22 years later, the site of La Défense in Paris would provide the framework for a basin of Signaux, forty immense screws animated by multicolour lights that are a reminder of the Jean Tinguely installations at the Pompidou Centre. His studies of movement and play on light reflections bring him closer to kinetic art.