• Olivia Plender, Ken Russell in Conversation with Olivia Plender, 2005
    Olivia Plender, Ken Russell in Conversation with Olivia Plender, 2005
12 October 2007–2 December 2007

Olivia Plender – Information, Education, Entertainment

With a motto adapted from BBC founder John Reith’s remit to “Inform, Educate, Entertain”, Marabouparken has the pleasure of opening this autumn’s exhibition of works by the British artist Olivia Plender.

Information, Education, Entertainment is a thematic solo exhibition which focuses on the TV medium and the art world portrayal of art and artists. The work Monitor (2006–2007) is a slide show essay with an accompanying soundtrack based on the screenplay from a TV programme Private View. The original episode was a part of the BBC’s first arts series Monitor, screened in 1960. The photographs in the slideshow are images of contemporary London based around the narrative of the soundtrack. Together, slide show and soundtrack, tell the story of the changing conditions of art and the gentrification of working class areas of London. The piece was originally presented as a performance at the Tate Triennial but is here shown as an installation.

The installation Ken Russell in Conversation with Olivia Plender (2005) includes the video documentation of an interview between Olivia Plender and the controversial filmmaker. The interview took place before an audience in a stage set reminiscent of TV studios from the 1970s. The topics covered include the experimental documentaries and artist’s portraits Ken Russell made for the BBC in the 60s, the Romantic idea of artistic genius, questions of taste and style and the controversies about him as a media celebrity and filmmaker. Russell’s media persona becomes an image of double-ness as he simultaneously tries to represent and live the role of the artistic genius. With the moralising narrative tone of a nineteenth century temperance movement pamphlet, the most recent episode of Olivia Plender’s ongoing comic book project The Masterpiece (2001-) follows the fate and adventures of the young artist Nick. At Marabouparken, the latest edition The Road to Ruin (for Öyvind Fahlström) (2006) will be presented both as a comic book and as an installation with the characters as life-size cut outs. This episode takes place in the 1980s and we follow Nick as he grapples with the sponsorship ideas of the mega-corporation Bucks, demonstrating how the Romantic notion of genius reinvents itself to adapt to a neo-liberal logic.

During the exhibition Information, Education, Entertainment a programme of film screenings and talks has been put together in cooperation with Filmklubben (the Film Club), a mobile platform for political film. The programme will focus on how the artist is portrayed by television and the art world and on public service media as an ideological tool. Dates and times will be available on Marabouparken homepage from October 11th.

About the artist
In her works Olivia Plender investigates clichés about “the artist as outsider”, “the creative genius” and “the bohemian lifestyle” – as anachronisms and in their contemporary updated guises. In a collage of references, from pulp literature and academic history books to documentary and fictional narratives, she delves into historical occurrences, often focussing on the evolution of industrial society.

An interest in didacticism and the narration of history is clear in how Olivia Plender presents her works. Her installations, publications, posters and lectures are rife with references to – and borrowings from – popular material such as satirical comics, as well as authoritative museum tableaux.

Olivia Plender’s latest work is the graphic novel A Stellar Key to the Summerland published by Bookworks. This autumn her work will be shown in Art Now Live at Tate Britain, How to Endure in Athens at the Athens Biennial, Mystic Truths at the Auckland Art Gallery and Le Truc at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin. Olivia Plender currently holds a residency at Iaspis and is co-editor of Untitled Magazine. Since May 2006, Olivia Plender is collaborating with a group of artists and designers around the mobile platform Canal.