Black Mohair Spirit


Pigment, twine, mop strands, beads, feathers, and butterfly wings on black paper

56.5 x 39.4 cm

A face with closed eyes emerging from a head of tumultuous golden hair characterises Black Mohair Spirit, a bittersweet portrait. Framed by hair materialised by strings, this partial figure is a print of David Hammons' own face made of white pigments on black paper. A superimposition of threads mixed with animal fragments - feathers and butterfly wings - encloses an invisible neck, recalling the ornaments of Ndebele women.

Using his own body to create this painting, Hammons continues the body print work he began in the early 1960s. This very personal commitment reflects work on the margins, which seeks to decipher the role of an artist and the value of art outside of mainstream art institutions.

Hammons' Black Mohair Spirit is in the Pinault Collection. It was first exhibited during the "Sequence 1" show in 2007 at the Palazzo Grassi.