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Anish Kapoor, Vantablack
Anish Kapoorcourtesy of Instagram/@dirty_corner

Anish Kapoor is finally set to reveal his first Vantablack sculptures

Let’s hope the artist’s controversial monopoly over the super-dark material was worth it

Anish Kapoor is finally due to reveal his first sculptures made with Vantablack, the super-black coating once heralded as the “blackest material in the universe”, after announcing that he would be working with the substance all the way back in 2014. The artist will unveil the new works at the Galléria dell'Accademia during next year’s Venice Biennale.

Despite already appearing in some forms – including a timepiece designed by Kapoor – Vantablack is probably best known for being at the centre of a controversy after Kapoor obtained exclusive rights for its artistic use.

Rival artist Stuart Semple, objecting to this exclusivity, has since banned Kapoor from using other superlative pigments that Semple has developed, including the world’s pinkest pink and glitteriest glitter. In 2016, Kapoor himself retaliated by posting a picture of his middle finger dipped in the pinkest pink to Instagram. (Whether this is two artists vying for a spot at the forefront of the intersection between art and technology, or two grown men acting like petty children, is completely up to you.)

Either way, it means that there’s going to be a lot of anticipation for the first Vantablack sculptures (even if it isn’t actually, technically, the blackest black on the market any more). 

Initially, Kapoor suggested that he could coat a whole room with the material, which would be pretty interesting, as it reflects only 99.96% of light, making it look like… basically nothing at all, or a featureless void. However, it proved to be more difficult to use than anticipated – hence the delay – and so its application remains a mystery for now.

We do know that it will appear with some of Anish Kapoor’s optical illusion art – or “voids” – during the 2021 Venice Biennale, though. Hopefully no one falls into one this time.