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Scraping, screaming, hovering, vibrating: the shards of metal in Takis’s show hum with invisible energy.
Since the 1960s, the Greek artist has used magnets to create thrumming, shaking works of abstract sculpture. The first one here sets four magnets swinging over a forest of smaller ones, like pendulums swaying above an adoring crowd. Another work uses magnets to bang rods against taught wires, clanging and clanking. There are giant spheres orbiting enormous coils, batons hammering gongs made of oil drums.
It’s not all kinetic. There are static works that leave rusty nails hanging in mid-air and metallic cones hovering in the middle of the room. A series of canvases bulge with magnets, while more metal cones like giant bullets hang centimetres away, frozen.
The super-early sculptures don’t add much, and the big flexible works are as interesting as they are tall, which is to say: quite. But then you spot the forest of blinking lights and a bunch of works made from reclaimed WWII equipment. That’s when it hits you, all this clanging and violence and light and metal: this is the detritus of post-war society frozen in constant, unbearable, unbreakable tension.
Takis has made art out of what our world became after the war. There are ideas about Zen Buddhism and meditation here, but more than anything this work feels like the product of a collapsed society. Draw whatever conclusions you want with the present day, this is just impressive, and very tense, modern sculpture.