The beauty of Classical Greek art and architecture is linked to perfect proportions, balance and mathematical lines – as you can see in the perfection of the classical columned temple facades of buildings such as the Parthenon where apparently straight lines are actually carefully curved.
Perhaps it is no coincidence that Greek artist Panayiotis Vassilakis, know as Takis, studied classical sculpture before taking those lessons into a 20th century direction through his balancing, acrobatic, kinetic art, using the opposing forces of magnets to attract and repel materials, linked to the pull of gravity to create a unique body of work, now on show at Tate Modern, and also reflecting technical innovations of the 20th century.
Born in 1925, it was over 40 years later that Takis moved from figurative sculptures, in some ways reminiscent of Le Corbusier, into the kinetic world which he made his own. Early works celebrated 20th century technology as he incorporated components such as radar antennae, aerials. dials and gauges and electrical circuits into his sculptures, but then he soon moved on and became freer as his works created elements floating in space, perhaps linked to the space age of the time as he incorporated electrical lights, sound and technical items discovered in flea markets, surplus stores and second-hand electronic shops.
Takis work has become more sophisticated and he now collaborates with scientists, academics and composers and has established a Research Centre for the Arts and Sciences (the Takis Foundation) in 1993. His interests, which now link back into society and the environment in which we live have included the invention of a device to convert water current into electricity.
Takis is the modern equivalent of those great artists whose interests went much deeper into science, innovation and society.