The Blackest Spat 2018

The Blackest Spat, 2018


Participating artists include Tim Coad, Emma Magnusson-Reid, Natalie Mather, Eva Nilssen, Dexter Rosengrave

Curated by Linda Crispin for the 2018 CAT (Contemporary Art Tasmania) Curatorial Mentorship

Vantablack was developed as a technology and introduced in 2014, but it became a known as a colour in 2016 and created controversy when UK artist Anish Kapoor was given sole rights for its use in art. Many in the art world took exception to the exclusivity of this agreement between Kapoor and Vantablack developer, Surrey Nanosystems, but none so much as Stuart Semple, a painter and printmaker, also from the UK.

A result of this very public spat has been Semple’s Black 2.0, which uses a binding medium that is capable of holding more pigment than conventional binders, thus sucking in more light and resulting in the flattest, blackest paint available to artists. Semple rallied internet users in a social media campaign called #sharetheblack, and created his own pigments, which he then made available to anyone in the world – except Anish Kapoor.

For The Blackest Spat, curator Linda Crispin provided a select group of artists a quantity of Semple’s Black 2.0. The artists have then responded not only to its unique qualities but also to the idea that the paint was created by a “punk reaction” – Semple’s passionate defiance of Kapoor’s exclusive right to a colour – aiming to create an exhibition through which, in their chosen media, artists can communicate resistance, defiance and opposition.