SPACE: Olivia Plender

12 September 2015 - 15 January 2016
Opening Reception 12 September 2015 5pm

The fourth artist to create a commissioned work for SPACE, Mercer Union’s billboard project, is Olivia Plender.

Olivia Plender’s research-based practice interrogates the ideological framework around the narration of history and, more recently, changing attitudes to education and value. Her 2010 installation, titled Google Office, in the Tapei Biennial, Taiwan, interrogated the commodification of knowledge and social relations that has taken place within post-Fordist service based economies; the collapse of the distinction between work and leisure and the new identity of the entrepreneur. Use of the Google Office was subject to a contract – parodying the intellectual property release agreements, which today seem to pervade every possible site of potential knowledge production, from internet social networking websites to universities. By reading the contract viewers gave up the rights to any new knowledge produced within the space, which subsequently became the intellectual property of Taipei Biennial. Equipped with games and free wi-fi, the Google Office was frequently occupied by people genuinely playing or working, seemingly unaware that they had become performers in the piece.

Recent solo exhibitions include: MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, Arnolfini, Bristol and CCA, Glasgow (all 2012), Gasworks Gallery, London (2009), and Marabouparken Annex, Stockholm (2007). Her work has been included in group shows including: Le Quartier: Centre D’art Contemporain De Quimper, France (2014), Henie Onstad, Oslo, (2013), Malmö Art Museum (2013), Hayward Gallery, London, Folkestone Triennial, Kent (both 2011); Taipei Biennial (2010); Tate Triennial, Tate Britain, London (2009); Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt (2008); and Tate Triennial, Tate Britain, London (2006), among others. She lives and works in Stockholm and London.


SPACE is a series of commissioned works for the billboard space on the side of Mercer Union which began in the spring of 2014. Previous contributing artists include: Liz Knox (CA), Giles Round (UK) and Walter Scott (CA).


Image credit: Olivia Plender, Many Maids make Much Noise (2015). All photographs by Toni Hafkenscheid