Back to Black – Kapoor vs The Rest

To the wrath of his fellow artists, Anish Kapoor confirmed last week that he has gained the exclusive rights to Vantablack, the blackest shade of black ever made.

The material is so dark it makes crinkled aluminum foil appear flat

Known as ‘Vantablack,’ the carbon-based substance is so dark that it absorbs 99.96 percent of light. The colour is produced by the UK firm Surrey NanoSystems and was developed for military purposes such as the painting of stealth jets.

Kapoor is yet to provide a public statement regarding his acquisition of Vantablack. However, in an interview with BBC Radio 4, he said:

‘It’s so black you almost can’t see it. It has a kind of unreal quality and I’ve always been drawn to rather exotic materials because of what they make you feel…Imagine a space that’s so dark that as you walk in you lose all sense of who you are and what you are, and also all sense of time…Something happens to your emotional self and in disorientation you have to reach inside yourself for something else.’

Kapoor has been working and experimenting with the ‘super black’ paint since 2014 and has recently acquired exclusive rights to the pigment. The international artists community is up in arms regarding Kapoor’s decision to withhold the material from fellow artists.

The British painter Christian Furr told the Daily Mail – ‘I’ve never heard of an artist monopolising a material…we should be able to use it…it isn’t right that it belongs to one man.’

However it is worth noting that this is not the first time an artist has claimed a unique tie with a particular colour. In 1960, the French artist Yves Klein took out a patent for International Klein Blue (IKB), a deep, matte shade of blue that he developed with a Paris paint-maker and used in a series of monochrome blue paintings. Although as Belgian artist Frederik De Wilde points out ‘Yves Klein patented the paint formula, but never patented the colour.’

One thing we can be sure of is that the Art World will have a lot more to say about the Vantablack saga…

We want to know what you think though! Is this fair or outrageous ArtAttackers? Comment below!

 – Harry Dougall





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