Dezeen Magazine

Anish Kapoor gets rights to blackest pigment
Vantablack is a material that absorbs over 99 per cent of light

Anish Kapoor to reveal first Vantablack artwork at Venice Biennale 2021

Anish Kapoor's art using Vantablack will go on display to the public for the first time at next year's Venice Biennale.

British artist Kapoor has exclusive rights to make art with Vantablack, a material that absorbs 99.96 per cent of light.

Speaking to the Art Newspaper, Kapoor said he wasn't allowed to know exactly how the scientists at Surrey NanoSystems – the British scientific research company that invented Vantablack – will apply the material because it has military and defence applications.

The super-dark material could be used  as "a cloaking material for hiding satellites" he said.

Anish Kapoor will unveil his Vantablack art at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2020
Kapoor has exclusive rights to make art with Vantablack. Photo by Bengt Oberger

Coating an item in Vantablack requires the use of a specialised reactor.

"[It] does not come out of a tube," said Kapoor. "The particles stand up like velvet when they are put to a reactor."

"To give you a sense of scale if the particle were one-metre wide it would be 300-metres-tall," he added. "When the particles stand up next to each other light gets trapped in between each particle."

Transporting Kapoor's Vantablack artworks to Venice for the 2021 Biennale will be tricky, reported the Art Newspaper, because they cannot be touched by human hands. Currently they are protected in transparent plastic boxes.

The Venice Architecture Biennale 2020 has been postponed until August due to coronavirus.

Anish Kapoor gets rights to blackest pigment
Vantablack was invented by Surrey NanoSystems

The Vantablack art will be on display in Venice alongside several of Kapoor's voids, geometric forms that protrude from a wall and create optical illusions.

One of Kapoor's voids recently caused a kerfuffle in an art museum in Portugal when a visitor fell over in an exhibition featuring a black hole displayed on the floor.

Kapoor has been criticised for acquiring the exclusive rights to use Vantablack for art. However, he called the uproar over it "misinformed".

When news broke in 2016 that Kapoor was the only person allowed to paint with Vantablack British artist Christian Furr accused Kapoor of "monopolising" a colour that could have been "dynamite in the art world".

The artist Stuart Semple challenged Kapoor by creating the "pinkest pink" pigment and banning Kapoor from using it. But Kapoor managed to get his hands on the pink despite the ban, posting a photo on Instagram of his middle finger dipped in it.

BMW has made a car coated in Vantablack VBx2 – a sprayable version of the super black material, Architect Asif Khan used Vantablack VBx2 to create a void-like pavilion for the Winter Olympics 2018.