Anish Kapoor has recently announced to have acquired the exclusive right of Vantablack, a particular pigment black so dark as to absorb the 99.96% of the light.
Vantablack is a substance made by Surrey Nano Systems company and it was developed and patented by Nasa for military purposes that facilitate the satellites’ transfer. The paint’s peculiarity is that it is able to absorb so much the light to prevent the human eye from identifying the type of shadows, which help human brain to understand the shape of an object: a crumpled piece of tinfoil with a coat of paint looks almost completely flat. It’s been a long time that Kapoor has started experimenting with Vantablack and working with the Surrey Nano Systems, the first company to be able to produce the pigment.
However, this is not the first time that an artist claims rights on particular colors. In 1960 the French artist Yves Klein patented “International Klein Blue (IKB)”, a particular tone of blue, that he had developed with a Parisian paints’ producer and used in several monochromatic paints. Klein died in 1962; however, IKB still exists and is still used nowadays.
The exclusive right could be a marketing strategy of the Surrey Nano Systems: link its material to one of the best contemporary artists. Otherwise, it could be the revival of a phenomenon already known in history, that links almost inextricably the use of color to the artist.