DETAIL The ABCs of My Private Life "A"
DETAIL The ABCs of My Private Life "B"
The ABCs of My Private Life "A"
The ABCs of My Private Life "B"
The ABCs of My Private Life "C"
The ABCs of My Private Life "D"
Jack Shainman Gallery Opening Actor Danny Glover & curator Isolde Brielmaier
JSGallery Opening, R.Actor/Musician Alex Désert (Hepcat), L.artist Odili Odita
Jack Shainman Gallery, New York USA, Opening view
Epilogue Internet News Photo of Haiti's Palais Nationale in the aftermath of the January 2010 Port-au-prince Earthquake

ABC's of my Private Life

L’ABCdaire de ma vie privée

The ABCs of my private life are four pages (A,B,C,D) of an imaginary ABC book. This work documents, in part, the four places:  
Port-au-Prince/Haiti, Brooklyn NY/USA, Paris/France, Berlin/Germany in the chronological order of my personal experience. 

Both the ‘text-book’ and the ‘family album’ as document and notation are appropriated for this work, making private what is public and vice versa. 

‘L’ABCdaire de ma vie privée’ attempts to playfully ‘stand-in’ as Dick & Jane of my childhood had for many regardless of regional or ethnic origin. 

In the ABCs, prominence is given to the personal and historical experience in the guise of the pedagogical text. Such words as ‘Arrestation’(the arrest) or Creole spellings such as Ayiti (Haiti) or hybrid (invented) words like Abondonner (Abandonner+Abondant/ abandonment + abundance) express for me the complex rupture from the Caribbean Island of my childhood.

Each plate designates a letter and a series of associative words in the language of ‘home’. Regional or national iconographies and crests establish a secondary ground for the plates As a tertiary (yet dominant element) are images taken from the personal collected images of a family album. The ABCs hint at the allegiances or fidelity to social ideas and the atmosphere of each lived place without the over elaboration.

Having collected ‘other peoples’ family pictures and used them in incidental works or sketches-perhaps for the inherent strength of their anonymity, it seemed fitting to take a moment to look at self portraiture.

It is the first time that I have undertook direct autobiography in my artworks though it speaks for a larger community of people who have experienced aspects of a similar shift in living situations, languages and territories. The ABCdaire is a term taken from a popular book series on many subjects of cultural/social knowledge from the well known French publishing house Flammarion.

It is perhaps up to the viewer to determine for themselves how much is being divulged or if this ultimately revealing. My aim is perhaps to share not my life but an experience unraveled but not rationalized.

Material & Format:

2005: Drawings, inks, pencil, watercolour on vellum paper (DIN A3 format)

  1. Abcdaire series from Flammarion Publishers, France
  2. Abecedarium an inscription consisting of the letters of an alphabet
  3. An important point of view by the author Fabian Charles on the use, by Haitians, of the french language
  4. flash cards published during the 1970s by the Society for Visual Education in Chicago. (source: Pinterest)


WORKS 1997–2023

Jean-Ulrick Désert is the inaugural recipient of Wi Di Mimba Wi :: The AKB & SAVVY Contemporary Commission Prize. 

Silence Will Not Protect You

Originally commissioned for Volume IV of Unfinished Histories at the Klosterruine in Berlin–Mitte, curated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung. The initial floor installation consisted of 33 fine grain concrete birds laid to rest upon concrete/beton blocks...

Terra Nova Afrikæ 新非洲

Commissioned for the exhibition THE INCANTATION OF THE DISQUIETING MUSE by Savvy Contemporary (Berlin)...

Neque mittatis margaritas vestras ante porcos

do not cast pearls before swine

In this work, Désert teases the above mentioned excerpt from Matthew 7:6 and renders it in the form of festoons draped across the room. The texts, exhibited in Kreyol, Papiamento, Spanish, Sranan Tongo, and Patois, sit underneath balloons which characterise the pearls we are warned of wasting on undeserving recipients.

Tante Cilet

How Nannite became Aunt Cilet (2015)

The shared phenomena of archiving and recycling photographic memories through family albums remains a critical point of cohesion for the Haitian diaspora...

Belgian Soliloquy

Belgian Soliloquy was developed for the Special Art-Project space PLATFORM 102 In Brussels (Belgium)...


(I am very much in love w/u)

The Latin term Secretum is used to express the idea of a contained or jarred secret...


The Goddess Temple

An imaginary "ruin" of Josephine Baker's unconstructed Parisian villa of 1928 (by Adolf Loos)...

Amour Colère Folie

(Love Anger Madness )- A Temporary Monument to Resistance

A temporary monument to resistance...

Sky Above Port-au-Prince

Haiti 12 January 2010 21:53 UTC

This artwork reflects the view of the sky above Haiti during the officially recorded time of the 2010 Earthquake.



BlackOut was first created and installed for 3 days in a public square (Richard-Platz, Berlin-Neukölln) in the summer of 2012.


The Goddess Constellations

 A 3-dimensional map of the sky above Paris (48°51N2°21E) marking the hour (5AM) of Josephine Baker's *death on the 12th of April 1975..

Shrine of The Divine Negress No.1

The Goddess Project

Désert’s take on the image of the Black Madonna and the Divine Feminine is expressed with a motif of Josephine Baker...

White Lessons

a series of different art-projects on the theme of Whiteness as a lecture presented at Making Mirrors Conference at the Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst...


Paint-by-number Trophies (2009) 

The statement 'you can be whoever you want to be...Prime-Minister/President, Secretary General, even an Artist'
- often goes unexamined...

Good Morning Prussia

Good Morning Prussia (Guten Morgen Preussen) is a series of handmade cyanotype photographs. It is the story of a “little Nubian boy”, August Sabac el Cher, who was given as a "gift" to a German noble due to his musical talents. 

Divine Negress Butterfly Fans

The Goddess Project

1000 hand-fans distributed to the public with the quotation: "A butterfly flapping its wings...can generate a violent storm"-Kofi Annan...

Voices from the Heart

Urban Grafitti is carefully documented and transcribed onto Gingerbread-cookies...


Works on paper (mixed media and collage) created for the exhibition entitled Demokratie und Gewalt...

The Travel Albums


A diary of imaginary postcards with incidental notes recounting the project's journeys and strolls in texts and images collected from the public...

The Passion

The artist focuses on football (soccer) fan-culture eccentricities, typified by extravagant fanaticism and the hooligan subculture..

Postcards From My Loves

NH2K / Billboards

Illuminated billboards digitally printed on textile...

Codex Testimoniorum Amoris

The Book of the Witnesses of Love

-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

Toiles de Jouy

All projects of the Haitian-American artist Jean-Ulrick Désert tackle the visualization of abstract ideas, such as the complex relations between private and political space...

The Science of Beauty

The works of The Science of Beauty consists of a series of newly imagined school-charts using transgendered and intersexed bodies from the beauty of nature.

Métamorphoses Sublimes

A video(loop) projection presented in Istanbul (Turkey) of a Belgian woman demonstrating How to construct and wear a modesty Muslim-veil fashionable among the Turkish minority in Germany. 

Jn.Ulrick Désert

Jn.Ulrick Désert

Désert's first German solo-retrospective exhibition entitled and simply abbreviated as Jn.Ulrick Désert presented at the Wolfsburg Castle (Schloßwolfsburg)) by Kunstverein-wolfsburg

Die Hosen 'runter lassen

The Haitian-American artist creatively reacts to Robert Mappelthorpes seminal and highly controversial black & white photograph Man in a Polyester Suit...

Suicidal Meditations

Photo and video-based project..

The Burqa Project

On The Borders Of My Dreams I Encountered My Double's Ghost

Four flags from four leading industrial nations, The United States of America, The United Kingdom/Great Britain, France, Germany, are used as the basis for replicating the Afghanistan hijab known as The Burqa...



A beer coaster created to be distributed and used in public and private venues...


The artist in German Lederhosen constructed of leather resembling caucasian skin and blond hair, was initially deployed as an art-action in multiple European cities...


Surrender comprises of two artworks, originally available as low edition multiples, La Main (The Hand) and Le Chapelet (The Rosary) ...

The Hip Decadence of Reductive Glamour

The artist, wearing a light tone foundation make-up as a Caucasian hipster, takes a series of self-portraits using a public photo-booth at the Paris Opera House Metro.

Tea Celine

Thé Céline

Glazed Porcelain with blue over-glazed texts (Louis-Ferdinand Céline citations in consultation with French literature scholar Prof.Thomas C. Spear, CUNY)