Born in 1939 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Regina Silveira studied at the Instituto de Artes, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (BFA 1958). Remaining in Porto Alegre to teach for nearly a decade, Silveira developed a sculpture and painting practice under the tutelage of Iberê Camargo (1914–1994), Francisco Stockinger (1919–2009), and Marcelo Grassmann (1925–2013). In 1967 Silveira left Brazil on a scholarship to study art history in Madrid, and then in 1969 she took a teaching position in San Juan at the Universidad de Puerto Rico. In 1973 Silveira returned to Brazil, where she taught engraving at the Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado in São Paulo until 1985. She also continued her studies at the Escola de Comunicações e Artes, Universidade de São Paulo (MFA 1980, PhD 1984).
Responding to the hostile political climate of Brazil's military dictatorship in the 1970s, Silveira created ephemeral conceptual work, including videos, pamphlets, and mail art. Frequently composed of appropriated images, her "surrealist" work subverted expected meanings through paradox and enigma with the aim of destabilizing perception. Since the 1980s Silveira has regularly worked with skiagraphia (shadow art) in installations in which an object and the shadow that it casts disconnect; the result is a disorienting experience that highlights the space between presence and absence. More recently, her practice has expanded physically to installations that investigate architectural spaces and public works that engage urban contexts. Regardless of scale, her work consistently addresses social, political, and economic conditions through forms rooted in the graphic arts.
In 1991 Silveira left Brazil for another prolonged period, supported by grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1990), Pollock-Krasner Foundation (1993), and Fulbright Foundation (1994) as well as residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts (1993, Alberta, Canada) and Civitella Ranieri Center (1995, Umbertide, Italy). Silveira has participated in numerous biennials, notably the Bienal de São Paulo (1981, 1983, 1994, 1998) and Havana Biennial (1984, 1994, 2015). Her work is held by many public collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
1978 Regina Silveira: Obra gráfica, 71–77, Pinacoteca do Instituto das Artes da Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
1982 Anamorfas, Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro
1992 In Absentia (Stretched): Contemporary Currents Series, Queens Museum of Art, NY
2005 Lumen: Regina Silveira, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid
2011 Regina Silveira: Limits, Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, University of Texas at El Paso
Amaral, Aracy, et al. Luz lumen: Regina Silveira. Madrid: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 2005.
Grossman, Martin. Regina Silveira: Claraluz. São Paulo: Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, 2003.
Moraes, Angélica de. Regina Silveira: Cartografías da sombra. São Paulo: FAPESP, 1996.
Navas, Adolfo, ed. Regina Silveira. Milan: Charta, 2011.
Roca, José, and Alejandro Martín. Regina Silveira: Linha de sombra. Rio de Janeiro: Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, 2009.