Nadia Plesner (born 1981) is a Danish artist working and living in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The disappearing boundaries between the editorial and advertising departments in the media is a central theme in Plesner's works. She is mostly known for the drawing Simple Living, in which she portrayed a Darfurian child holding a small dog and a caricature of a designer bag with the intention of denouncing the way in which the Western media was reporting the genocide occurring in Darfur.
Due to a lawsuit from Louis Vuitton, Plesner used Simple Living in the mural Darfurnica, which led to a new lawsuit from Louis Vuitton. The brand demanded that Plesner pay 5000€ for each day that her work was exhibited in public claiming that her work represented a “threatening infringement of intellectual property.” This time Plesner chose to countersue and the case led her to the Hague, where in June 2011, after a long and costly legal battle, The European Court of Justice, rejected Vuitton’s arguments, annulled the accumulated fine of 485000€ and ordered the brand to pay 15000€ for Nadia’s legal costs.
Plesner's works infiltrate the mainstream media and present thought-provoking alternatives to the pacifying advertising and remind people of the necessity of promoting human rights. While using recognizable objects and showing consumer tendencies she adds serious themes like genocide and poverty.
She explores the demands for art to imitate the time we live in where all information is fast-pace and people's attention range is quite short.
She works in various medias from drawing, painting and sculpture to performance art and political activism. Most of her works tend to include sarcasm, which works on more levels than just visually: To illustrate the lack of attention to the genocide in Darfur, she painted Darfurnica, a full size modern version of Picasso's Guernica, hence imitating Guernica's importance in the European art world, and thereby raising the needed awareness for Darfur.
Plesner is a member of the artist group Emergency Room, an art format by Thierry Geoffroy. The Emergency Room is a launch pad for artists burning with desire to engage in the current debate. The exhibition changes everyday at 12 noon. The works from previous days are exhibited in the Delay-museum around the Emergency Room.
Emergency Room has been launched in: Copenhagen: Nikolaj Contemporary 2006, Berlin: Galerie Olaf Stueber 2006, New York: PS1 / MOMA 2007, Athens: Ileana Tounta Gallery 2007, Paris: Galerie Taïss 2008, Naples: PAN 2009, Hanoi: University of Fine Art 2009/11, Wroclaw: Europejski Kongres Kultury 2011.
In 2008 Plesner founded the non profit organization The Simple Living Foundation, through which she uses her art to raise awareness of humanitarian issues as well as raising money for aid, for example shipments of medical and school equipment to various destinations.
Her work has been published in several school books and used for teaching in ground schools, high schools, universities and law schools.
Nadia Plesner was born in Frederiksberg in Denmark. Her father is the owner of a local newspaper and her mother is a doctor's secretary. Plesner showed drawing skills from an early age and illustrated a quiz book for children at the age of 9. After completing high school she tried out many different creative educations from architecture and classical drawing to graphic design at the Graphic Arts Institute in Copenhagen, but when she visited a friend who studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam she fell in love with the art school right away and moved to the Netherlands in June 2006 to study Fine Arts.
Plesner completed her first semester but in January 2007 she was involved in a traffic accident and suffered memory loss, a severe concussion and an injured leg.
She spent the next 4 months recovering in bed and it was during this time she decided to use her art in a more conscious way and started with the drawing Simple Living as her first Darfur campaign which ended up being her breakthrough as an artist.
2008: Cosmopolitan's Provocateur Of The Year award.
2011: Oxcar award.
2011: Nominated for the JCI Ten Outstanding Young People's award.
Places of education:
The Graphic Arts Institute, Copenhagen
The Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam