The Art of Darkness

Sixteen enlightening examples of how art, science and literature have drawn inspiration from the shadows

Second Home
Jan 25, 2017 · 13 min read

Robert Fludd — Utriusque Cosmi


Ursula Le Guin – The Left Hand of Darkness

“Le Guin uses this society to explore how we, in our gender-polarised society, like to polarise everything and set up these perhaps false dualities.”


Isaac Asimov – Nightfall

“The eclipse occurs, night falls for the first time in thousands of years, the sky goes dark, the stars come out, and their technologically advanced, civilised society, destroys itself — they set everything on fire”


NASA – The Earth by Night


The International Dark-Sky Association Map


NASA – The History of the Universe


NANOblck-Sqr#1, 2014, blackest-black artwork by artist Frederik De Wilde, Carroll/Fletcher Gallery, London, gallery view

Kasimir Malevich – Black Square


Paul Nash – The Void, 1924


Ad Reinhardt’s Black paintings 1953 — 1967

“Reinhardt believed after his own paintings there wouldn’t be any more, he proclaimed the death of painting.”


Katie Paterson — The History of Darkness

“She collects astronomical images that show nothing. They’re images of the dark, empty parts of the sky. It reminds us how much of the cosmos is dark, at least to our eyes or the limits of our technology.”


Pierre Soulages – Outrenoir

“‘My instrument is not black, but the light reflected from the black.’”


Hubble Deep Field

“Everything you can see in this image is not a star, it is a galaxy of stars. Each one of those blobs of light contains billions of stars, probably each one of them with its own system of planets.”


Michael Light – Full Moon

“The pictures themselves show immense sharpness because they depict a world without air, without atmosphere.”


Vantablack is made up of millions of carbon nanotubes, each measuring two or three nanometers — or roughly one millionth of a millimeter.

Surrey NanoSystems – Vantablack

“Vantablack is a pigment conceptually equivalent to a black hole. If you were building Hubble today you’d probably want to paint it with Vantablack.”


Miroslaw Balka – How It Is

“It’s more about feeling fear. An overwhelming frightening sense of desolation.”


Andy Goldsworthy — Coppice Room

“When the door opens and the light washes in, it’s almost a shame to come back to the world of light. It’s almost like going back into the womb.”


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Work + Life

Inside the minds and creative spaces of global innovators