Christian Hoosen: B–Ware

18 Mar 2022 – 16 Apr 2022

Regular hours

11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00

Free admission

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DITTRICH & SCHLECHTRIEM is pleased to present B-WARE, a show of ceramics by CHRISTIAN HOOSEN, opening on MARCH 18 and on view through APRIL 16.


On display on palettes, pedestals, shelves, and wall frames are various ceramic artworks produced at HB-Werkstätten für Keramik in Marwitz, Brandenburg, Germany. The cups, busts, vessels, and assemblages in the exhibition engage with systems of value and evaluation in art and society. The title itself, B-Ware (German for second-rate), critiques industrial production and economic and social systems, as well as Hoosen’s self-perception as an artist and misfit.

The art world looks down on craftsmanship because it ranks idea above execution and attributed above material value, but the fact is, as an artist you’re not exactly held in high regard by craftsmen and people in the manufacturing sector. Anyone can call themselves an “artist,” after all, but to be a ceramicist you have to have completed professional training. Hoosen, for one, had to become a craftsman at the HB-Werkstätten before he could garner esteem as an artist: he had to observe processes, learn techniques, and above all prove that he respected the craftsmen’s work so he wouldn’t seem disrespectful when he turned it into art. The fact, by the way, that uses not masterpieces but rejects for his art doesn’t make it any better. On the contrary, the existence of rejects is merely proof of how high the quality standards are (the supposed flaws in some of the discarded vases, plates, or watering pots are completely invisible to the layperson’s eye)—they’re not waste but evidence of value.

No wonder, then, that the art produced in this context is largely preoccupied with the upward and downward revaluation of evaluative criteria. It’s not like Hoosen hadn’t grappled with these questions before—you might in fact say that his entire oeuvre revolves around them—but not always so explicitly, and that may also have something to do with the material itself. For the longest time, ceramics was assigned to the artisan craftwork sector, to the DIY corner, and although high art has shown a growing fondness for ceramics in recent years, when it’s featured on the grand stage the works are often fairly unambitious on the levels of both idea and execution, making the medium an ambivalent choice for artists who want to make good art, art that’s unequivocally recognizable as such. Then again, what is that, “good” art? How much art passes as “good” in the art world even though it’s second-rate at best—in a word, “B-Ware”?

The above is a press brief from Annika von Taube. Her full exhibition essay is to be featured on our website and available at the gallery.

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Christian Hoosen


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