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Black, singular and plural

Sven Dupré
p. 12-15

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Ce document sera publié en ligne en texte intégral en mars 2025.

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Not many things in nature are black. Black holes come to mind, but they are rather exceptional in their natural blackness. Appropriately, a solvent-based paint full of carbon nanotubes that absorbs almost all light, recently developed by a Massachusetts-based manufacturer NanoLab, is named Singularity Black. Made freely available, it challenges Vantablack, patented so that only the artist Anish Kapoor is allowed to use it. Absorbing 99.96 per cent of all light that strikes it, Vantablack is the very blackest black ever made. This recent search for the blackest black underscores how difficult it is to artificially create black, precisely while black is a rather uncommon color in nature. Black dyeing, as we will see, is a complex and labor-intensive affair, as there exists no plant or mineral in nature that can directly and durably dye black. In this sense, black is a singular phenomenon. Yet, from another perspective, black is plural. When black became a highly fashionable color in t...

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Sven Dupré, « Black, singular and plural »Technè, 56 | 2023, 12-15.

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Sven Dupré, « Black, singular and plural »Technè [En ligne], 56 | 2023, mis en ligne le 14 mars 2025, consulté le 18 juin 2024. URL : ; DOI :

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Sven Dupré

Director of the Research Institute for History and Art History – Professor of History of Art, Science and Technology, Utrecht University (Department of History and Art History) and University of Amsterdam (Conservation & Restoration) (S.G.M.Dupre[at]

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Le texte seul est utilisable sous licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Les autres éléments (illustrations, fichiers annexes importés) sont « Tous droits réservés », sauf mention contraire.

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