Secretum (I am very much in love w/u) 2014
Secretum (I am very much in love w/u) Label Detail
Secretum (I am very much in love w/u) single jar Med
Secretum (I am very much in love w/u) single jar Med
Secretum (I am very much in love w/u) single jar Med
Secretum (I am very much in love w/u) single jar Med
Secretum (I am very much in love w/u) single jar Large
Secretum (I am very much in love w/u) single jar Large


(I am very much in love w/u)

The artwork, Secretum (I am very much in love w/u), comprises of double-jars in various dimensions, with the interior jars sometimes obscured with paper-tape. 

Each exterior jar is well sealed and each label anchored with a security-band to indicate if the seal has been violated. 

Each glass jar is a discrete individual exhibit of an incident captured in a jar and expressed through the idiosyncrasies of institutional labeling .

The Latin term Secretum is used to express the idea of a contained or jarred secret. Each label utilizes various languages simultaneously including english, french chinese, arabic and german. 

All labels indicate sufficient information that allow the viewer to comprehend that something grave has occurred.   
Each viewer is left to decipher the strategic-opacity of transparency provided through the obfuscatory methods of institutions, be they scientific, academic, media, government, religious or police.

The sub-title of this artwork is taken from an SMS text-message sent by a Cameroon citizen who found himself imprisoned for texting the following: "i am very much in love w/u" to someone of the same gender. He was imprisoned, brutalized and then later starved to death by his biological family (parents).

This project was created on the occasion of the 2014 Dakar Biennale (Biennale de l'art africain contemporain de dakar) by the invitation of Paris based curator Elise Atangana and her colleagues Abdelkader Damani and Smooth Ugochukwu Nzewi.

  1. 17Dec2012 The Guardian UK
  2. Roger Mbede dies
  3. The project recognizes Marcel Duchamps prescient example of capturing the invisible in his "50cc air de paris"
  4. Curatorial team bios Dak'Art (9 May - 8 June 2014 Dakar, Senegal)
  5. Curatorial statement regarding the CABINET OF CURIOSITIES section of the exhibition in which "Secretum (I am very much in love w/u)" would (anonymously) be displayed: "an artistic experiment and a laboratory of collective production laboratory where the artists are asked to create a collective work in a single space from a common story,and losing their individual identities. It is also a political act to commemorate the moment when Africa was taken out of Art History because of the anonymity of African art and artists."
  6. Invited artist to the 2014 Dak'Art (Venue: Village of the Biennale, Route de Rufisque): John Akomfrah, Rashid Ali & Andrew Cross, Sidney Amaral, Olu Amoda, Joël Andrianomearisoa, Kader Attia, Fayçal Baghriche, Radcliffe Bailey, Mahi Binebine, Meriem Bouderbala, Halida Boughriet, Bourouissa & Selmani, Candice Breitz, Nidhal Chamekh, Gopal Dagnogo, Jonathas de Andrade, Jean-Ulrick Désert, Sidy Diallo, Amary Sobel Diop, Victor Ekpuk, Andrew Esiebo, Ali Essafi, Ismaïla Fatty, Olivier Fokoua, Justine Gaga, Houda Ghorbel, Milumbe Haimbe, Sam Hopkins, Tam Joseph, Samson Kambalu, Kira Kemper, Edmon Khalil, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Marcia Kure, Mehdi-Georges Lahlou, Simone Leigh & Chitra Ganesh, Nomusa Makhubu, Ato Malinda, Julie Mehretu, Amina Menia, Naziha Mestaoui, Baudouin Mouanda, Jean Katambayi Mukendi, Wangechi Mutu, Assane Ndoye, Mimi Cherono Ng’ok, Chike Obeagu, Emeka Ogboh, Driss Ouadahi, Bouchra Ouizguen, Io Palmer, Éric Pina, Slimane Raïs, Jimmy Robert, Faten Rouissi, Massinissa Selmani, Wael Shawky, Mohamed Shoukry, Arlene Wandera, Ezra Wube, Kamel Yahiaoui.


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...

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.

Terra Nova Afrikæ 新非洲

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

ABC's of my Private Life

L’ABCdaire de ma vie privée

In four pages, Jean-Ulrick Désert revisits the four places that shaped his personal experience: Port-au-Prince, Brooklyn, Paris, and Berlin...

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)...


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...



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

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.


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...


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


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...

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)