London based artist Stuart Semple has developed a powdered pigment that is nothing short of shockingly pink. Not to disappoint, ‘the world's pinkest pink’ is available for purchase from the artists online store. Unless you are Sir Anish Kapoor that is.
Semple specifically embarked on this quest of pink to retaliate on Kapoor's exclusive rights to Vantablack. Kapoor, a London based sculptor, is the sole artist with the right to use Vantablack, a powdered pigment comprised of nanotubes. Very high tech. As a substance created by Surrey NanoSystems, Vantablack has the capability to be withheld from the public. It cannot be re-created outside of a lab environment, as it has specific properties and characteristics, such as ts claim to fame: absorbing 99.96 % of visible light.
Or so you would think. Turns out that another artist, Frederik De Wilde, claims to have worked with his own scientific counterparts for a decade, and NASA for two years to develop a blacker substance even before Vantablack. This substance is still reported by De Wilde as the the ‘blackest black”. De Wilde talks about his motivations for creating such a pigment; “For Yves Klein it was the blue sky, for me it's deep space. The blackest-black is an artistic concept, research project and a poetic thought which is "born" out of necessity, reactionism, subversiveness”.
Before embarking on legalities, this situation brings up many cultural issues, such as who can own a color, or pigment? Very specific colors used for company logos are often trademarked, and as De Wilde mentions above, can be coined by artists like Yves Klein. But is this any different? Should a material that can embody such a meaning be withheld? Should it be the artist’s role to fight for what they and the public might be missing?
Stuart Stemple is, that’s for sure. Along with his pinkest pink, Semple has pushed the hashtag @anishKapoor #ShareTheBlack, and requests of users upon purchasing the pink:
“you confirm that you are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor, you are not purchasing this item on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor. To the best of your knowledge, information and belief this paint will not make it's way into that hands of Anish Kapoor.”
Stuart Semple fights withheld creative wealth with pink. Do you?