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Takis: Tate Modern Exhibition Opens

Grecophiles and art lovers will love the Takis exhibition which opens this month (July 2019), says Carl Catterall, Olympic Holidays’ marketing manager

Over a 70-year career, Takis (Panayiotis Vassilakis) has created some of the most innovative art of the 20th century.

Takis, a sculptor of magnetism, light and sound

A sculptor of magnetism, light and sound, he seeks out the essential poetry and beauty of the electromagnetic universe. 

He was one of the most original artistic voices in Europe from the 1960s and remains a pioneering figure today. Bringing together more than 80 works, this is Takis’ largest exhibition in the UK and includes a rarely-seen Magnetic Fields installation, musical devices generating resonant and random sounds, and forests of his pivotal Signals.

Born in Athens in 1925, Takis is a self-taught artist who moved to Paris in 1954 and became a key figure in the artistic and literary circles of Paris, London and New York.

His inventions earned him the admiration of the international avant-garde from William S. Burroughs and the American Beat poets to artists including Marcel Duchamp

Takis was at the forefront of kinetic art and pioneered new forms of sculpture, painting and musical structures to harness invisible natural forces. Throughout his career, he produced antennae-like sculptures called Signals – thin, flexible poles topped with found objects or electric lights – which gently sway in response to their surroundings.

His idea for these works emerged while waiting at Calais train station surrounded by ‘monster-eyes’ going on and off in a ‘jungle of iron’. The renowned Signals London gallery and publication (1964-66) was named after Takis’ influential series and became an important meeting place for the transmission of ideas, breaking down boundaries between the arts and sciences.

Takis Radar 1960 - Takis exhibition at Tate Moden
Takis Radar 1960 - Takis Foundation © Takis

Takis through the decades

From the late 1950s, Takis became increasingly fascinated by radar and began exploring magnetism as a way to reinvent sculpture. In 1960, he created the ephemeral action The Impossible - Man in Space, in which he suspended the poet Sinclair Beiles in mid-air through a system of magnets while he recited the poem Magnetic Manifesto. The exhibition includes Takis’ "tele-magnetic" works, incorporating metallic objects that float with the use of magnets, such as Magnetic Wall 9 (Red) 1961 where abstract elements hover on the surface of a bright red canvas. 

Since 1965, Takis has created new musical devices with magnets and electricity to produce sounds that he speaks of relating to the cosmos, ranging from single notes to thunderous ensembles. At the centre of the exhibition is a gallery dedicated to a sequence of Takis’ Musicals. The exhibition closes with Takis’ Musical Sphere 1985 and Gong 1978, made from the rusted wall of a tanker.

Takis in London and Athens

See the exhibition at Tate Modern or during your Olympic Holidays’ break on the Athenian Rivieria when it opens at the Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens on 20 May 2020.

Takis Exhibition Key Facts

When is the Takis exhibition at the Tate Modern?

3 July – 27 October 2019

What are the opening hours?

10am-6pm (until 10pm on Friday and Saturday)

How much are tickets?

  • £13 / FREE for Members
  • Concessions £12
  • Children 12–18 years £5
  • Under 12s FREE (up to four per family adult)

How do I get tickets?

You can book online or by calling the Tate on 020 7887 8888.

When is the Takis exhibition at the Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens?

Opens 20 May 2020

Which hotels are near the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens?

We feature a selection of 4 and 5 star hotels on the Athens Riviera, all of which are under a 1 hour drive from the museum.  The nearest is the Divani Apollon Palace:

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