Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Dak’Art: Jean-Ulrick Désert


One of the participants of the Dak’ Art Biennial, starting in May.

Les battements des ailes des papillons peuvent déclencher des tornades autour du monde : wood and textiles, variable dimensions, 2014, © Jean-Ulrick Désert.

Specially made for the Dakar Biennale, the work of Jean Ulrick Desert, The flutter of butterfly wings can trigger tornadoes around the world is an African transposition an initial project, Blackout, introduced in Germany in 2012. In both projects, Desert addresses the revolt and indignation of citizens in a world that no longer reflects their welfare. The signs are a powerful symbol to the extent that the message of the insurgents if not heard, is at least seen. Indeed, more than the screams, placards, often carry violent slogans, show all the rage that comes from those who want to be heard. By covering slogans with wax fabrics, Jean Ulrick Desert evokes the silent screams of the African people forced by censorship and political disinterest. But the artist warns that people’s anger is particularly devastating since it is unifying and it can trigger tornadoes that can change the face of the world. When will Africa revolt, and join international protest movements that make their voices heard?

Jean-Ulrick Désert is a conceptual and visual-artist born in Port-au-prince Haiti living in Berlin since 2002. Désert’s artworks vary in forms such as public billboards, actions, paintings, site-specific sculptures, video and objects and emerge from a tradition of conceptual-work engaged with social/cultural practices, Well known for his “Negerhosen2000”, his provocative “Burqa Project” and his poetic “Goddess Projects” he has said his practice may be characterized as visualizing “conspicuous invisibility”. He has exhibited widely at such venues as The Brooklyn Museum, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Grey Art Gallery NYU/Studio Museum of Harlem, Walker Art Center in the USA, Cité Internationale des Arts in France, The Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst in Germany and in galleries and public venues as well in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Ghent, Brussels. He received his degrees at Cooper Union and Columbia University (New York, USA) and has lectured or been a critic at Princeton, Yale, Columbia in the USA, Humboldt University in Berlin and at Ecole Supérieure des Beaux Arts, Paris.

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