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Meet the electrifying Greek artist still pulling in crowds - and selling sculptures for six figures - at 93 

Takis Magnetic Wall 9 
Takis, Magnetic Wall 9 (red), 1961

Tate is celebrating the acquisition of a collection of 18 works by Takis, the 93-year-old Greek artist, with an exhibition – his largest ever in Britain – that opens tomorrow. To many it will be a revelation – rooms full of tall, spindly antennae he calls Signals, with lights on the top, and clicking mechanical objects driven by electromagnetic energy.

Takis (real name Panagiotis Vassilakis) was one of the instigators of kinetic art in the Sixties, and Frances Morris, the director of Tate Modern, says the exhibition fits with her plans to “revisit and examine in depth the period’s under-recognised artists.”

Takis, Magnetic Fields, 1969

In doing so, she has the assistance of former art critic Guy Brett, who is an expert on kinetic art, but now, aged 76, is struggling with Parkinson’s. There is a wonderful video on Tate’s website of him with Takis, a lifetime chain smoker, joking about age and energy. Brett also built the collection of Takis’s work that Tate has acquired with financial assistance from the Art Fund charity, and Tate’s members, patrons, and International Council. 

Takis photographed in 1962 Credit: Getty 

I won’t hazard a guess at the cost, but Takis’s work has fetched £175,000 at auction – and, more privately, says James Mayor, a London dealer who was exhibiting a 1964 Signal at the Fair for Saatchi last week with a £60,000 price tag. Not bad for an under-recognised artist.

Is outdoor sculpture an urban experience or a rural one?

Robert Indiana, One Through Zero. 1980-2003

Is outdoor sculpture better situated in the town or in the country? The Frieze Art Fair attempts to get the best of both worlds with its open air sculpture exhibition in London’s Regent’s Park, which opens tomorrow, three months before the fair opens.

The protective Royal Parks authority might have objected – in 2017, Frieze Sculpture shifted 90 tons of soil and laid down 50 tons of concrete – but they like the exhibition, says Victoria Siddall, the Frieze director, because it increases the number of visitors to the park. Frieze Sculpture has certainly proved a successful sales vehicle since it began in 2017. Siddall notes several sales between $100,000 (£79,000) and $1 million by artists such as Yayoi Kusama and Kaws, the new market darling. 

This year, London’s Waddington Custot gallery has a major presence with a 10-part cor-ten steel sculpture by the late Robert Indiana of the numbers 0 to 9, priced at $5.5 million, and an 11ft bronze hare balancing on a trio of elephants by Barry Flanagan, priced at £1.5 million.

For cheaper options, try Dreweatts outdoor sculpture sale in Churt, Surrey on July 16.

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