press release

Getting the audience involved in his projects is indispensable for Otto Berchem (1967, USA). Each of his works is a collaboration with people, artists, friends, fashion houses, magazines or institutions. In doing so his projects reflect our position as individuals within society, and because of this exchange with the audience and the collaboration with the people behind the scenes, Berchem's work is an on-going social activity, in which the artist features as the director.

In his latest project, presented by Ellen de Bruijne Projects, Otto Berchem takes an even closer look at inter-human relationships in contemporary society, in focusing on the 'dating' system. For many a hard working twenty- or thirty-something a visit to the local supermarket after work seems to equal "the latest spin on a singles bar", according to Berchem. This phenomenon could be considered the modern day version of dating shows like "Blind Date", the first predecessors of which appeared on American TV in the sixties.

The core of the exhibition "The Dating Market" can be found on the Elandsgracht in Amsterdam, at Lindeman supermarket. Berchem will adorn a series of shopping baskets provided by Lindeman with a flower motif, derived from the stage set of "the Dating Game", one of the original American dating programs, broadcast in the sixties. When entering the supermarket, the customer can opt for a flowered basket, and label him- or herself - as 'available'. Thus the supermarket becomes a datingmarket, a qualified ad in 3D. Lindeman will also be promoting a series of weekly special discounts for 'singles'. Please look at the posters with discounts! Concurrently with the opening of the exhibition, the first publication on Otto Berchem's work, entitled "It's not my fault", published by Artimo, with texts by Lisette Smits, Charles Esche, and others, will appear. The book will be launched on 13 May, at Ellen de Bruijne Projects.

With specials thanks to: Lindeman, Elandsgracht 11, Amsterdam (Mary Lindeman & personnel) Production The dating Market: Patricia Pulles


only in german

Otto Berchem: The Dating Market