In this article, Sheila Leirner combines concepts linked to a global imaginary, such as transnational identity and the possibility of going beyond borders, and the Modernist vision of art as self-referential and universal, a vision expressly opposed to an art based on representation. Leirner makes reference to Brazilian artists José Resende (about whom she wrote the text “Rezende”) and Waltércio Caldas. She also mentions geometric-abstract artist François Morellet; considered by some a pioneer of Conceptual art, Morellet was one of the founders of the Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel (GRAV) in Paris, a group led in the sixties by Argentine artists Le Parc and García-Rossi. Leirner also discusses the abstract-geometric and Op work that artist Israel Pedrosa produced in the sixties and seventies. Pedrosa wrote the book Da cor à cor inexistente [From Color to Nonexistent Color] (Rio de Janeiro: L. Christiano Editorial, 1977), which discusses the problematic underlying his production from those years.
French-Brazilian journalist and art critic Sheila Leirner formed part of the Conselho de Arte e Cultura da Bienal from 1982 to 1983. She was the curator of the XVIII edition of the São Paulo Biennial held in 1985 and of the XIX edition held in 1987. On both occasions, she fought against nationalist and historicist didacticism (see the 1985 “Introdução”  and the 1987 “Introdução” ). Even though it privileged “the return to painting”—the maximum value of the eighties—Leirner’s curatorial vision in those editions of the biennial entailed a radical anarchist stance. After studying the sociology of art in France, she worked as an art critic for the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo in 1975. An anthology of her essays, mainly focused on what was called “the new art,” was published under the title Arte e seu tempo (São Paulo: Editôra Perspectiva, 1991). Since 1991, she has lived in Paris where her work revolves around art administration. She was the Latin American representative to the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume from 1993 to 1999 and a member of the French chapter of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). She has also contributed to countless magazines and supplements in France and Brazil, among them Beaux-Arts Magazine, Europe Magazine Littéraire, Revista da USP, and Cadernos de Literatura Brasileira, and sits on the UNESCO-Aschberg Bursaries for Artists.