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Art Anecdotes : Anish Kapoor vs. Stuart Semple

Through ART ANECDOTES, Art From Us brings you funny, heart-warming and sometimes heartbreaking stories that shape Artists and their work. Today we look at the story of Anish Kapoor vs. Stuart Semple.

Art From Us and Divvya Nirula bring to you a curated collection of Art related events, from suspected murder, to love affairs, to grand theft and curious cases of creation through ART ANECDOTES. Join us on this fun-filled ride of exploring and reliving these art-tales.

The Bluest Blue

Around the 1960s, French artist Yves Klein made history when he invented a new colour – International Klein Blue. The colour had a unique luminosity and Klein patented it, which meant that it was exclusively ‘his’.

Anish Kapoor vs. Stuart Semple

In early 2016, Young British Artist Anish Kapoor acquired exclusive rights a black pigment and called it Vantablack. The unique property of this pigment was that it absorbed 99.965% light, thus making it the ‘blackest black’ in the market. Kapoor even told the BBC in an interview that the paint was “so black you almost can’t see it.” Unlike Klein though, Kapoor had not invented the pigment himself. The pigment belonged to a British Company, NanoSystem and was for military and scientific use. It appeared to the rest of art world that Kapoor simply monopolised the product so that no one else could use it.

When taunted like that, the art world can be equally petty. So, in retaliation to what Kapoor did, British artist Stuart Semple created the world’s pinkest pink. Semple’s pigment has properties opposing Vantablack. Instead of absorbing light, it reflects it, thus making the colour look fluorescent. Semple had worked in collaboration with paint manufactures to create the perfect blend, later named PINK. 

Being a generous spirit, Semple made PINK freely available for people to buy. All people apart from Anish Kapoor that is. It has been reported that online suppliers of the product make their customers sign the following declaration :

“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 its way into the hands of Anish Kapoor.”

Well, in the spirit of this type of pettiness, we have to say that so far – Art World : 1; Anish Kapoor : 0

The Battle Continues

By the end of 2016 it was reported that despite Semple fool-proof measures, Kapoor was successfully able to procure a pot of PINK. Profanities were exchanged between the artists and Semple finally said :

“It would be nice if he owned up, said sorry and gave me my Pink back.”

The battle continues as Semple has created the world’s most glittery glitter, yellowest yellow and greenest green, all with a Kapoor-ban on them. Well, wow.

To read more stories visit Art Anecdotes.

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