One Stone Head


Stone, hair, hat

Overall dimensions: 147,3 × 45,7 × 45,7 cm (58 × 18 × 18 in.)

A granite oval—an oblong mass reminiscent of a head placed on a worn felt hat—is topped by a crop of curly hair forming a hairstyle. The close cut seems to have been sliced through with a razor so as to draw geometrical lines. With this piece, David Hammons delivers a new rebus entitled One Stone Head. The hair clearly reflects the artist's African-American identity—it is gathered from barbershops in New York. The stone monolith evokes the universal history of sculpture, such as the Cycladic idols. Crushing the timeworn hat, it recalls the strength and impertinence of Dada and surrealist assemblages, from Jean Arp to Magritte. Hair, which is imbued with “magical properties” in many cultures throughout history and across the globe, is an important medium and a recurring theme in Hammons' work.

Hammons has lived and worked in New York City since 1974, and his experiences there have influenced his work. In his work, he invokes urban sports, most often boxing and basketball, which are often associated with African-Americans. David Hammons always operates in a logic of displacement: he breathes the energy of the street into his works, stirring up Harlem's dust or the hair collected in its barbershops, into spaces dedicated to art. Radical, provocative, hard-hitting, his work draws its strength from art's critical mission to question hierarchies and modes of thought.

This work is presented for the first time in 2021 by the Pinault Collection in the inaugural exhibition of the Bourse de Commerce, entitled "Ouverture".