Full title: Codex Testimoniorum Amoris -or- The Collected Accounts of the Emptoris Depicting their Experiences with the Scortæ de Genus Masculus of Landeshaupstadt München including Many Depictions of the Latter Compiled & Annotated for the Moral Education of the Good, 2005, Digital Prints on vellum papers in eight DIN A0 Frames, red carpet, 8chairs, 800cm x250cm
The murder of the Munich socialite Rudolf Moshammer prompted the Haitian born American artist Jean-Ulrick Désert to address the topic of prostitution in his work “Codex Testimoniorum Amoris” (The Book of the Testimonies of Love). Taboos, demonization and erasure are expressed in this work utilizing a pallet associated with ritual iconography that clinically reveal different concepts of morality, desire, economies and power. With a unique juxtaposition the artist creates a set of disturbing confrontations.
Eight panels document in German, French and English statements made by the most invisible contributors in the economy of prostitution: Its sex clients. The descriptions of their experiences are rendered in old gothic type also known as Black-type (Fraktur in German) using the conventions of illuminated manuscripts. The installation is arranged for the public in the form of a manuscript study hall. “Codex Testimoniorum Amoris” was commissioned by the Arts Council of Munich and exhibited in the Rathausgalerie München. Additional private funding by co-sponsors was withdrawn when it was revealed that the artist would explore the subject of prostitution in a predominantly catholic region.
An effort was made to avoid the use of exploitative images or texts. All explicit words, names and acts are left for the viewer to imagine, making the texts both more opaque as well as fluid and interpretable. Each plate offers a unique group of texts set into specific compositions.The client’s views take on the typographical forms of scholarly annotations and remarks at the margins.
- 1. The murdered socialite Rudolf Moshammer on wiki-link
- 2. The testimonials were gathered from a variety of web-based sites. The primary source was taken down due to a scandal involving a male-prostitute ,James Guckert aka Jeff Gannon, pretending to be a journalist in the White House press corps during the administration of US President George W.Bush. nytimes-link or PDF NYTimes Dowd OpEd (Below)
- 3. The Barberini Faun is a Masterpiece of sculpture housed at the Glyptotek of Munich in Germany. wiki-link
- 4. Private funding for the initial Munich exhibition was eventually withdrawn when the curators revealed the artist had chosen the topic of the alienation of male sex-workers within the existing economy of prostitution in a city historically founded by Benedictine Monks