Wednesday 18th September 2019

Redemption of Vanity: A Yellow Diamond Appears as a Flat, Black Void.

The Redemption of Vanity is an artwork on the intersection of art and science, a collaboration between Diemut Strebe, artist-in-residence at the MIT Center for Art, Science and Technology, and Brian Wardle an MIT aeronautics and astronautics professor. Wardle and Kehang Cui from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University have invented a material (CNT), that absorbs 99.965 percent of light and this material is featured in Strebe's artwork. 

The Redemption of Vanity. Screenshot of video from Diemut Strebe. Article by YDCDL

Image credits: screenshots of video from Diemut Strebe.

"Everybody knows that diamonds are the most reflective material on earth."

Diemut Strebe


Yet, the artwork is a 16.78 carat natural Fancy Vivid yellow, radiant shape, diamond covered with carbon nanotubes (CNT material), the light absorptive material, which makes the sparkling diamond appear to disappear.

Strebe explains “Any object covered with this CNT material loses all its plasticity and appears entirely flat, abbreviated/reduced to a black silhouette. In outright contradiction to this we see that a diamond, while made of the very same element (carbon) performs the most intense reflection of light on earth. Because of the extremely high light absorbtive qualities of the CNTs, any object, in this case a large diamond coated with CNT’s, becomes a kind of black hole absent of shadows“ and adds “The unification of extreme opposites in one object and the particular aesthetic features of the CNTs caught my imagination for this art project.”

The $2 million worth Redemption of Vanity will be on display at the New York Stock Exchange until Nov. 25, by appointment only.


Image credits: screenshots of video from Diemut Strebe.
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