Wannabe “Vantablack” art installation created in Pyeongchang for the Olympics

The art installation in Pyeongchang used an off-brand version of the blackest black in the world... because one guy owns the copyright to the color.


February 26, 2018

British designer Asif Khan created a temporary structure in the middle of Pyeongchang called the Hyundai Pavilion, using the darkest paint on Earth: Vantablack or… VBx2.

Created by Surrey Nanosystems back in 2014, Vantablack is a chemical substance made of tiny nanostructures that trap light inside and turn them to heat, creating a deep, dark, illusion-like void. And it’s tripppy

But Khan’s isn’t THE Vantablack

While both paints work the same way, original Vantablack absorbs 99.96% of the light that hits it, while Khan’s Vanta-fake absorbs only 99.0%.

See, famed artist Anish Kapoor (who created that chrome bean in Chicago) exclusively copyrighted the original Vantablack in 2016.

Aside from various military and scientific uses, Kapoor and those at his studio are the only ones trained to use the specialized substance for aesthetic purposes — a move that sparked outrage among the art community.

“This black is like dynamite in the art world… It isn’t right that it belongs to one man,” said one disgruntled artist.

The art of owning colors

While corporations like Target, UPS, and many others have been trademarking colors for decades, owning a specific color outright in the art world is rare.

Though, the move by Kapoor wasn’t the first: in 1960, the French artist Yves Klein patented International Klein Blue, a deep, matt shade of blue that a little-known performance art collective called the Blue Man Group has since paid to use on their faces.

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