Jac Leirner was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1961, and continues to live and work there today. In 1981, she took her first independent trip out of Brazil, traveling to North America and Europe. After exposure to European and North American artists, Leirner became interested in sculpture and collage, and returned home to explore in depth the work of 20th-century Latin-American artists. Although many parallels exist between her work and that of other Latin American artists, she is careful to say that artists working abroad and in Brazil have influenced her equally.
In Blue Phase Leirner has strung together thousands upon thousands of pieces of devalued Brazilian money--cruzeiros, cruzados, and cruzados novos--that for economic reasons were taken out of circulation. Although the artist has altered their original function, these banknotes, once transported in wallets, pockets, and hands, possess a strange intimacy as embodiments of modern human interaction. Years earlier the banknotes could have been exchanged for useful and necessary goods, but by the late 1980s they were useless. Leirner transforms the debris of human life into curiously elegant sculptures.