Nadia Plesner (b. 1981 in Copenhagen, Denmark) is a Danish artist and writer. She graduated in Fine Arts at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam in 2012.
During the last decade Plesner has focused on the disappearing boundaries between the editorial and advertising departments in mass media. She is widely known for her 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 occuring in Darfur. Simple Living was printed on t-shirts and posters in 2007 and sold to raise money for the organization Divest for Darfur.
Later on Simple Living became an integral part of Plesner's paraphrase of Guernica: the painting Darfurnica.
Being displeased with the drawn/painted bag on both works, Louis Vuitton sued Plesner in 2008 and 2011 and got Simple Living as well as Darfurnica banned. In 2011 Plesner countersued Louis Vuitton in order to win back her right to exhibit both works. In 2011 in the Hague, after a long and costly legal battle, The European Court of Justice rejected Vuitton's arguments and annulled the accumulated penalties of 485.000 €.
The final verdict now sets precedent in similar cases.
Plesner has participated in many exhibitions at home and abroad in places like Trapholt Museum, Heart Museum, Den Frie Udstillingsbygning, Arbejdermuseet, the Biennale in Venice (The Zimbabwean pavillion), Modemuseum Hasselt in Belgium, Space 2*3 in Tokyo, The European Culture Congress in Wroclaw, Palazzo delle Arti in Naples and Galerie Taiss in Paris.
In 2015 she published her book Simple Living, Kamp og Kunst fra en Campingvogn at the Lindhardt & Ringhof publishing house. The book is about art and censorship and is based on Plesner's own experience.
Plesner teaches drawing at Thorvaldsen's Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark. She has taught or given talks or lectures at places like the United Nations in Geneve, Trapholt Museum in Denmark, Heart Museum in Denmark, Arken Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, The Royal Theatre in Denmark, Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany, ArtEZ Institute of the Art in The Netherlands, De Balie in The Netherlands as well as numerous highschools and colleges.
Her work is a part of the permanent collections of Trapholt Museum, Denmark, Modemuseum Hasselt, Belgium and Herning Highschool, Denmark.
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 / Venice: The Zimbabwean Pavillion at the Venice Biennale 2013 / Johannesburg: Museum of African Design, 2016.
Cosmopolitan's Provocateur Of The Year award (2008)
Oxcar award (2011)
Nomination for the JCI Ten Outstanding Young People's award (2011)
Her work has been published in several books and used for teaching in elementary schools, high schools, universities and law schools:
2018: Kunst vor Gericht - Ästhetische Debatten im Gerichtssal by Sandra Frimmel and Mara Traumane
2013: Intellectual Property Law by Lionel Bently, Herchel Smith and Brad Sherman (Not published yet)
2013: The Library Juice Press Handbook of Intellectual Freedom - Concepts, Cases and Theories
by Mark Alfino and Laura Koltutsky (Not published yet)
2013: Doing Dutch by Frame Publishers
2013: Grundbog i kunst og arkitektur by Jørgen Holdt Eriksen, Sophie Holm Strøm and Henrik Oxvig
2012: Maak er wat van by Joep Schrijvers
2011: Trademark Protection and Freedom of Expression by Wolfgang Sakulin
2010: International Contemporary Artists, volume II by InCo Artist books
In 2012 Simple Living was selected as the official illustration of artistic freedom on United Nation's website.
In 2013 Simple Living was selected to illustrate a hearing on artistic freedom in The European Parliament.
Plesner is a member of BKF.
In 2008 Plesner founded the non profit organization The Simple Living Committee (originally named The Nadia Plesner 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.
You can read more about The Simple Living Committee here: