Scan, Hostage prototype 1.0, V01D-1 / Frederik De Wilde

Presented by ZERO1, with the support of the Flemish Ministry Of Culture, Rice University, and NASA

“As the atomic clock is a reference for Time, so is this Nano Black a new reference for contemporary Black.”
-Frederik De Wilde

Nano art is a new discipline located at the art, science, and technology intersections and plays on the aesthetic paradox of exposing ideas, concepts, and artworks that cannot be seen. Hostage prototype 1.0 (2010), Scan (2010), and V01D-1 (2012) are entirely nano-engineered. The artworks are “grown” from atomic-sized particles, their surfaces consisting of carbon nanotubes that almost completely absorb light and transform it into heat, making them the darkest artworks in the world.

This work is the result of a close collaboration between scientists and De Wilde. This kind of collaboration between artist and scientist has many precedents, for example, the collaboration of French artist Yves Klein with chemists to create his IKB Blue (International Klein Blue) in the 1950s and 1960s. Even a cursory glance at art his- tory reveals numerous artists who focused on color and particularly on black: Kazimir Malevich, Ad Reinhardt, Pierre Soulages and his “outre-noir” (beyond black). Within science, these works enter the physicist’s mystical quest for the absolute black, or “hyperblack.” Like the trailblazers of Silicon Valley, Belgian artist Frederik De Wilde pursues a goal which is extreme in order to provoke thoughts on the limits of our perceptual abilities and ideas on what constitutes innovation. The ultra-contemporary nanoblack created by De Wilde is made up of a vertical alignment of nanotubes of carbon. These nanotubes are akin to the carbon that one finds in charcoal pens or pencils, linking De Wilde’s contemporary proposition of color with the most ancient and fundamental acts of mark-making. From the time of cave paintings to the present day, the evocative power of this color and of mark-making remains. Ultimately, what we think of as “black” is a constant reinvention.


This project is presented as part of the exhibition 
Seeking Silicon Valley at the ZERO1 Garage 
September 12-December 8, 2012
Admission is free

Frederik De Wilde

lives and works in Brussels, Belgium

Artist website


Frederik De Wilde studied fine arts at St.-Lukas Brussels (MA - painting), The Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp (BA - sculpture) and St.-Lukas Brussels (MA - experimental & audio-visual arts). Frederik followed a pre-education in architecture, studied one year of philosophy (VUB) and concluded his studies with a post-graduate degree in new media, arts and design (Transmedia). Currently Frederik collaborates with the physics department of the University of Hasselt (UH), Rice University in Houston (USA), Karlsruhe University (DE), NASA (USA), Berkeley (USA), Rochester (USA) and Michigan University (USA). He is a guest professor at Transmedia Brussels and is a permanent artist in residence at the University of Hasselt. Frederik is a member of the advisory board of Prof. Adamatzky (The University of West of England, Bristol). He is a first prize winner of the prestigious Ars Electronica NEXT IDEA grant 2010 and the Best European Collaboration Award 2011.