Your Silence will not Protect You

Silence Will Not Protect You

This work was 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.

The artist’s use of a dead bird leans into what is referred to in some contexts as an “idiom of distress”. In this work, Désert calls attention to psychosocial distress not just in the form of a discomforted cry, but as a warning and perhaps even an illustration of a warning ignored. He draws an allusion to the proverbial “canary in a coal mine” with a difference in acknowledging the pre-existence of a critical social situation. The birds, in their plurality of appearance further drive home Audre Lorde’s assertion that:

[Speaking] is never without fear; of visibility, of the harsh light of scrutiny and perhaps judgement, of pain, of death. But we have lived through all of those already, in silence, except death. And I remind myself all the time now, that if I were to have been born mute, and had maintained an oath of silence my whole life for safety, I would still have suffered, and I would still die.1

 “Silence Will Not Protect You”, 2019, Site specific installation (Die Klosterruine Berlin, Bezirksamts Mitte von Berlin, Amt für Weiterbildung und Kultur, Fachbereich Kunst, Kultur und Geschichte) Concrete canaries, red clay bricks LED board,

2019: Installation, concrete canaries, bricks, LED text-board, various dimensions

Text: Mokia Laisin

  1. 1 Lorde, Audre, “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action", in Your Silence Will Not Protect You, London: Silverpress, 2017.

Jean-Ulrick Désert CONSPICUOUS INVISIBILITY

WORKS 1997–2023

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

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...

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...

Belgian Soliloquy

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

Arabesque

The Goddess Temple

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

Secretum

(I am very much in love w/u)

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

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

(Papillons)

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

5:00.12.04.1975.48°51N2°21E

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...

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...

Trophies

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. 

Leviticus

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

Voices from the Heart

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

The Travel Albums

NH2K

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..

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

Postcards From My Loves

NH2K / Billboards

Illuminated billboards digitally printed on textile...

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...

Surrender

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

NH2K

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...

Bierdeckel

NH2K

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

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)