Founded in Freiburg in 2006, the ART SHOP and GALLERY BOLLHORST (since 2016: "Kunsthandlung & Galerie BOLLHORST") shows works of international artists and craftsmen, both in a permanent exhibition and in changing special exhibitions, with a special focus on ceramic works. The shop’s concept is based on the blurred boundaries between art and craft. Artists and craftsmen create works that transcend these boundaries. While one discovers a clear practical value in many of the exposed objects, other works reveal the idea of a free design detached from any purpose.
With its programme the gallery positions itself in the complex field of the discussion about the so-called applied and fine arts. The gallery strives to stimulate discourse on these arts rather than setting limits, and it simply asserts that judgement is always a matter of perception. It’s all about senses and passion. A passion for works created by the hands of artists and craftsmen. A passion which is felt while contemplating and feeling the different works. Passion and life time that were put into the exposed works and that inspire and kindle the fire. The gallery displays works from various fields of a substantial world of things: handcrafted, fancy, beautifully designed, of a good use, with a fine sense of humour, of incredible colour, a keen sense and lightness. Visitors are faced with objects which appeal to the senses until the heart beats and the eyes are wide open in amazement and all ends with a small seduction. Emphasis is placed on the particularity, the joy, the liveliness as well as on the silence, the plainness, the simplicity, the thoughtfulness, the sobriety, the shades, the heaviness of a material used, the amazement, the stories behind the objects.
The exposed works are made by people who esteem their work, who celebrate the material, while they are particularly sensitive to form, colour, purpose and they have a passion for creation. These are works of people who sensually perceive their working materials, no matter whether it is soil, metal, pigments, wood, glass, stones, paper, fibres, fabrics. The art shop´s aim is to give an appropriate space to this freedom of design, to open the visitors’ senses for the exposed objects, and to introduce the individual artist with his work. The shop wants to offer a way off the beaten paths of the arbitrariness of anonymous design seen everywhere, to provide beholders and visitors with a better understanding for the working process and the attention given by the artists to each work and thus for the individual value of each object, which is not only measured in terms of money, but in special terms of a sentimental value. A value which is nowadays suffering due to mass production.
Fancy works in the ART SHOP and GALLERY BOLLHORST find their way to collectors and enthusiasts who are aware of the special value of these. The premises of the gallery are situated directly at the Schwabentor, in one of the most beautiful areas of the old city of Freiburg.
Why do you run a ceramics gallery?
It is not a gallery that is exclusively dedicated to ceramics, but I offer quite a lot of works made of other materials like glass, wood or metal. I have focussed on ceramics because I am fascinated by the simplicity of the material. The manufacturing of ceramics pots is one of the oldest cultural techniques of humanity. Using a clump of humid soil as a basic material is what I consider as very easy, satisfying und comprehensible in this present age where nobody understands any longer the technology that surrounds us. "Ceramics" is, of course, an extremely complex issue with all its facets, but first of all I am delighted when I think about the "simplicity".
What do you like or dislike about running a galley?
Indeed, this question can only be answered by describing a process: When I started running my gallery about 10 years ago, I felt much closer to the idea of a gallery than I am doing at present. I was based in the domain of the so-called fine arts where galleries are, generally speaking, considered as being an important part of. It was thus easy for me to spend my thoughts to the opening of a gallery with a focus on ceramics and, at least in these early times, jewellery. I organised conventional exhibitions, accompanied by music and food. I am far from judging this some kind of way but I feel more and more uncomfortable when thinking about this merchandising of arts. My intention is to get away from this elitist and sitinguishing part of a "systems gallery". For me, it is not sufficient to give artistic statements in a system of market and human beings cut off from the outside world, while 95% of the people are left out and watch with big eyes the exclusive community drinking champagne. That is why I have made a first step and have skipped the word "gallery" from the external presentation of my shop in Freiburg. Now that I have excerpted this sting of high culture out of the ulcerating wound, I feel much better and and the fine arts commerce is starting booming, too. I am trying to organise the transfer to so-called “normal” customers of arts and artwork by means of a large range of products which does not set any limits. For this reason, I have an excellent door opener as of late: a good Espresso, and you won't believe the kind of wunderful discussions about arts and culture that have developed since, it's simply amazing! Maybe my business has never been a gallery in the conventional sense, but an undefinable mixture of who knows what.
What would you like to change for better? (What would you like to improve?)
I am interested in people's joy and astonishment about products made by human beings, to feel this impressed moment through an artistic product which the craftsman or artist has been holding satisfiedly in his hands. It is this moment and the spreading of this special power and special value that I want my customers to feel when thy come into my shop. Once a customer has entered the gallery and I can feel his enthusiam, that is the moment where I say to myself: "You can't do better! That's it!".
Plans for the future?
My plans for the future are, first of all, to continue running this gallery and being successful. The arts commerce is, and this of course not to deny, driven by money and characterised by the fact that you have to earn money for your living. I am looking forward to meeting a lot of artists and to selling their products in the coming years. At the same time, I am looking forward to meeting further new customers since my attention and respect are towards both, artists and customers, being a mediator between all parties. For me, it is important to cultivate respect, modesty, openness, honesty and a good relationship with customers and artists, but in modern times of the online trade, these virtues seem quite old-fashioned, even if they probably represent the only unique selling charateristics in a positive sense. If I were allowed to change something, I would abolish the online trade as well as the opening hours policy of major retailers like Ikea and Co. which are likely to destroy the owner-run retail trade.