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Betty Leirner

Betty Leirner was born in 1959 in São Paulo, Brazil and started her artistic career in 1976 at the MASP Museu de Arte de São Paulo. Two years later, she published her ‘poetographic’ book ‘Squares of Light’, which accompanied her first solo exhibition at the same Museum. Before leaving Brazil for Europe in 1981, Betty Leirner completed her Film Studies at the University of São Paulo, where she got acquainted with  Walter Zanini, and at FAAP, Julio Plaza and Herbert Duschenes, who have been influential to her work. Returning to Brazil in 1985, she conceived and curated the seminal ‘Palavra Imágica’ Exhibition that took place at the Museum of Contemporary Art MAC USP in 1987. In ‘Palavra Imagica’ (Imagic Word), Betty Leirner presented a survey on the tradition of language intersection in Brazil by placing side by side, the artists-poets Augusto de Campos, Edgard Braga and Pedro Xisto,  Waldemar Cordeiro, MIra Schendel and Helio Oiticica. During a research period of ten years (1980-1990), she developed and then revealed a series of ‘conceptwords’ in her multilingual and transparent book ‘Les Etres Lettres’, which has been presented among others at the MAM, Museum of Modern Art São Paulo, Musée d’art Moderne et Contemporaine, Nice, at the Franklin Furnace, New York and at the Museum of Contemporary Japanese Poetry in Kitakami, Japan. After having lived in the German and Italian Alps and the French Pirenées, Betty Leirner moved to Hamburg, where she had solo presentations and exhibitions at the Literaturhaus, Schauspielhaus, Filmhaus, the Cinemathèque Metropolis, and at the city’s Ethnology Museum, das Museum fuer Voelkerkunde Hamburg. In 2010 the Cinemateca Brasileira and the Goethe Institute São Paulo presented a seven programm Retrospective of her Films. Leirner’s latest screenings, both in 2011, include ‘A wake’ at the Momentum Gallery in Berlin, and a solo compilation screening  at the Arsenal Kino Berlin, proposed by Adam Nankervis’ ‘Another Vacant Space’. Betty Leirner lives and works in Basel as an artist and author.

Born in 1959, São Paulo, Brazil.
Lives and works in Basel, Switzerland.

Exhibitions at Galeria Superfície




A Poesia e as Artes Visuais


Novos Meios e Conceitualismo nos Anos 70

Individual Exhibitions


Palavras - Síntese (Placenta Writing) – Galeria Superfície, São Paulo, Brasil.


Booked - another vacant space, Berlim, Alemanha.


Retrospectiva Betty Leirner – Cinemateca Brasileira, São Paulo, Brasil.


O reino menos o Rei (Cinema) - Museu de Arte Moderna MAM , São Paulo, Brasil.


Political Mistakes - Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen, Alemanha.


Splace: Episódios de geografia subjetiva - Paço das Artes, São Paulo, Brasil.

Fotofilms - Black Box – Film Museum Düsseldorf, Alemanha.


Nowhereland, Japan: Betty Leirner Prints - Museum für Voelkerkunde, Hamburgo, Alemanha.


Nowhereland Japan - Doitsu Bunka Kaikan, Osaka, Japão.


Poems and Translations - Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlim, Alemanha.

Mostra de Video, Museu Brasileiro da Escultura, São Paulo, Brasil.

Orte und NIcht-Orte - Literaturhaus Hamburgo, Alemanha.


Videopoems Deutsches Schauspielhaus , Hamburgo, Alemanha.

Darstellung eines Satzes: Betty Leirner - Literaturhaus Hamburgo, Alemanha.


Figuras de Linguagem, Betty Leirner – Instituto Cultural Brasileiro ICBRA, Berlim, Alemanha.


Video de Autor - Museu da Imagem e do Som MIS, São Paulo, Brasil.

Amor - Galerie Donguy, Paris, França.

Poesia Abstrata - Galerie Pohlhammer, Steyr, Austria.


Materia Mentale - Westwerk, Hamburgo, Alemanha.


Um Poema de Betty Leirner (Ce Qui Est Ist) - Centro Cultural São Paulo, Brasil.


OmniversO - Augosto Augusta São Paulo, Brasil.


Squares of Light - Museu de Arte de São Paulo MASP, São Paulo, Brasil.

Collective Exhibitions


Mutatio - Paris, França.

POESIS – Sprachkunst | Language Art | Arte-Palavra - Kassel, Alemanha.

Aussteigen auf Zeit - Dornach, Suíça.

Novos Meios e Conceitualismo nos Anos 70 - Galeria Superfície, São Paulo, Brasil.


A Poesia e as Artes Visuais - Galeria Superfície, São Paulo, Brasil.


On Demand Three - Galerie Tengeboschvanvreden, Amsterdam, Holanda.


International artists' books from 1960 - today - Internationale Künstlerbücher von 1960 bis Heute Benediktinerstift Admont, Austria.


A Wake: Still Lives and Moving Images - Dumbo Arts Centre (DAC), New York, NY.


A Wake: Still Lives and Moving Images - Momentum Gallery, Berlim, Alemanha.

A Wake: Still Lives and Moving Images - The Leo Kuelbs Collection, New York, NY.


Tekhne’ - Museu de Arte Brasileira MAB FAAP - Fundaçao Armando Alvares Penteado, São Paulo, Brasil.

Lovers at Photofilm ( Cinema) Tate Modern, Londres, Inglaterra.


7. Bienal do Mercosul, – Grito e Escuta, Porto Alegre, Brasil.


Poiesis - Oi Futuro, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

Cinema of Brazil : Literature into Film , Barbican, Londres, Inglaterra.


Hiper Relações Eletro Digitais - Santander Cultural, Porto Alegre, Brasil.


Continental Shift - Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen, Alemanha.

Schrift und Bild in Bewegung - Gasteig München, Alemanha.


Scripturale – Wort und Schrift in der Kunst - Kunsthaus Hamburg, Hamburgo, Alemanha.

Texte Sehen : Deutsche und Japanische Visuelle Poesie : Gesten als Weltprozess - Museum fuer Zeitgenossische Dichtung, Tanka und Haiku, Kitakami, Japão.


La Suisse Ailleurs Autrement, Prix Michel Jordi de Photographie - Centre Saint Gervais Pour l’ Image Contemporaine Genève, Suiça.

United Artists: Luz - Casa das Rosas, São Paulo, Brasil.


Gang Warfare (Michael Corries) - Le Consortium, Dijon, França.

Brazil: the thinking photography, Rochester, New York.


Configura 2, Galerie am Fischmarkt, Erfurt, Alemanha.


The Future of the Book of the Future - Florida, Alaska, Nyc ( Franklin Furnace ).


Bienal Brasil Século XX - Fundação Bienal de São Paulo.

4. Studio Internacional de Tecnologias de Imagens Sesc Pompéia, São Paulo , Brasil.


Made in Hamburg / Scheinwerfer – Kunsthaus Hamburg.

Hamburgo, Alemanha.


Transfutur, Galerie Pankow, Berlim, Alemanha.


2.Studio Internacional de Tecnologias de Imagem SESC Pompéia, São Paulo, Brasil.

Exposicão Internacional de Esculturas Efêmeras, Fortaleza, Ceará, Brasil.


Palavra Imágica - Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo MAC-USP, Brasil.

A Trama do Gosto - Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, Brasil.


Projeto Vermelho - Proggetto Rosso.

Museu de Arte Brasileira MAB-FAAP São Paulo, Brasil.


Tendências do Livro de Artista no Brasil.

Centro Cultural São Paulo (CCSP) / Galeria de Arte UFF Niterói, RJ, Brasil.


Contemporary Brazilian Works on Paper, Nobé Gallery, New York City, NY.


Grande São Paulo 76 - Museu de Arte de São Paulo MASP, São Paulo, Brasil.

Public Collections

MAC Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo, Brasil.

Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen, Alemanha.

Ludwig Forum Fuer Internationale Kunst Aachen, Alemanha.

MAK Museum fuer Angewandte Kunst, Wien, Museu de Arte Aplicada e Contemporânea de Viena, Austria.