Olivia Plender's research-based practise interrogates the ideological framework around the narration of history and more recently changing attitudes to education and value. For example, in an installation for Altermodern: Tate Triennial 2009 at Tate Britain she focussed on the Kibbo Kift Kindred, a British alternative educational movement existing between 1920-1951, who were radicalised during the economic crisis of the 1930s into a nationalist monetary reform movement. In 2010, she made an architectural installation titled Google Office for the Taipei Biennial in Taiwan. Thematically the piece aimed to interrogate 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.
Olivia Plender has exhibited internationally. She currently has a solo exhibition in the UK titled Rise Early, Be Industrious, at Arnolfini, Bristol (2012), touring from MK Gallery, Milton Keynes (2012); and previous solo shows include Aadieu, Adieu Apa (Goodbye Goodbye Father), Gasworks Gallery (2009) and Information, Education, Entertainment, Marabouparken Annex, Stockholm (2007), amongst others. Her work has also been shown in the British Art Show 10, Hayward Gallery, London (2011); Folkestone Triennial, Kent, UK (2011); Taipei Biennial, Taipei, Taiwan (2010); Altermodern: Tate Triennial 2009, Tate Britain; Bucharest Biennial, Bucharest, Romania; Greenroom, Hessel Museum of Art, CCS Bard, New York, (2008); The Great Transformation, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt (2008); Tate Triennial, Tate Britain, London (2006); Busan Biennial, Busan, South Korea (2006); BMW: 1X Baltic Triennial of International Art, CAC, Vilnius (2005); Romantic Detachment, PS1/ MoMA, New York (2004).
Olivia was selected for a residency as part of Points of Departure.