Rubber Dread


Rubber bicycle inner tubes, found metal stand, red rubber ball

131.4 × 53.3 × 50.8 cm (51 3/4 × 21 × 20 in.)

A flaccid form, like a hooded head, is placed on a stand: as you approach, you discover a sort of braided headdress, made from deflated bicycle inner tubes, the ends of which hang down like dreadlocks, those impressive locks of hair worn by Rastafarians. This wig, which is reminiscent of the magistrates' wigs and the customs of the old order—that of the slave trade—resonates like a sinister “scalp.” It covers a deflated balloon in the place of a wig stand. Composed from material realities charged with meaning linked to African-American culture, Rubber Dreads is also a biting and ironic play on the word dread.

The acts of tragic magic that David Hammons performs in his work result in sarcastic pieces that question African-American history and identity, Americanness, and the legacy of slavery and colonial rule.

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