Anna Bella Geiger
Preservation interventions have been carried out on ten videos made by Anna Bella Geiger between 1974 and 1981. In an interview filmed in 2017, the artist describes the context in which the contemplated works and the overall work with moving images were created. The artist's filmography is presented along with an international and a Brazilian critique, emphasizing the current relevance and accessibility of the artist's production.
Restored Videos
The color latitude and sound standards of the original artwork were respected when treating and digitizing the selected works, despite the difficulties related to the state of the masters (not all of them first generation).
In three prospections, 18 original video supports of the artist were chosen. Part of the treatment was applied directly to the original magnetic tapes of Jom Tob Azulay's 1/2 inch open roll Portapak | Sony camera.
Part of the material was recovered from a U-matic tape with compilations of works sent to the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1981.
Passages I
video, 12'04", B&W
Set in her gritty Rio neighborhood, ABG slowly ascends various staircases. The repeated action becomes mesmerizing but leads to nothing…
Passages II
video, 11’12", B&W
Fixed shot of a staircase that completely fills the frame: Anna Bella Geiger walks up the steps sideways, up, down, drawing a series of shapes on the screen.
video, 1’55”, B&W
In a forest, setting a path toward any direction away from the center.
Statement in portrait I
video, 16’34”, B&W
A reflection on the situation of Brazilian artists outside the international art circuit.
Statement in portrait II
video, 10’46", B&W
A reflection on the concepts of culture and art in the context of the Brazilian art circuit.
Elementary maps I
video, 3’13", B&W
Anna Bella Geiger draws the world map in pencil, to the sound of the politically charged song “Meu caro amigo” by Chico Buarque.
Elementary maps II
video, 3’43", B&W
To the sound of the song "Meu caro amigo" by Chico Buarque, Anna Bella Geiger draws different representations of the world map, presenting the world from other perspectives.
Elementary maps III
video, 3’22”, B&W
The shape of South America is the starting point for semantic play between image and word, where Anna Bella Geiger ironically comments on some of the stereotypes attributed to Latin American cultures.
Action site
video, 1’51", colour
Brazil’s isolation from the international context is explored in this video, in which the South American continent detaches from the rest of the world map and the artist then bites a piece of bread creating the shape of Latin America.
Almost stain
video, 3’22”, color
Moving quickly through padded fabrics printed with camouflage-like stains, the video seeks to confuse the spectators with "maps" and "stains" that resemble maps.
Restored videos are available at:
Eletronic Arts Intermix
For on-site access to works stored in the Electronic Arts Intermix collection in New York, make an appointment and inform the list of titles to be viewed by e-mail ( or by telephone (21 2337-0680).
Associação Cultural Videobrasil
For on-site access to works stored in the Electronic Arts Intermix collection in New York, make an appointment and inform the list of titles to be viewed by e-mail ( or by telephone (21 2337-0680).
Anna Bella Geiger: crossings and overflows
Marisa Flórido César, 2020
A Face Drawn in Sand: The Territories of Anna Bella Geiger
Pablo Larios, 2020
Anna Bella Geiger
Director Vivian Ostrovsky. 2019, Brazil. 25’, color, sound
Anna Bella Geiger
Anna Bella Geiger (Brazilian, b. 1933 born and Based in Rio de Janeiro)

was among the first Brazilian artists to experiment with video as Art.
Her first artworks, pure abstractions in painting and engraving, launched her career in the early 1950s. Her studies and encounters with artists in New York City during an extensive stay 1953-54 and often thereafter, widened her interest in progressive options for art topics and artmaking. Beyond her celebrated abstract achievements, she is also noted for multimedia works that contemplate Brazilian identity – national, historical, geographical, social, political and personal.

In response to socio-political conditions, precipitated by a coup and the establishment of military dictatorship (1964-1985), Geiger’s approach shifted in  the 1960s – first, toward visceral figuration, and then, temporarily away from painting altogether. Due to their associations with resistance efforts, her husband, Pedro, a professor of geography, was imprisoned for two years and she was often detained.
For Geiger, the daughter of Polish-Jewish immigrants, the instinct to challenge repression was inculcated.
In the early 1970s Geiger explored conceptual means to create to “meditations.”  Filmmaker Jom Tob Azulay introduced her to video making in 1974. The medium provided a new means to analyze the interface between history and memory. Collage, photography, metal and wax sculpture, super 8 film, found-object and text-based works assemblage and artists books as well as installations and performance (she terms Actions), were among the means she cultivated for her artistic arsenal. While covertly resisting the regime, she not only oversaw raising her four children but also emerged as a prolific and influential artist, activist and professor of art.
Her black and white videos from the mid 1970s are as inventive as any that emerged during this period throughout the art world. In Brazil many art critics were skeptical about whether video could resonate as Fine Art. The international debut of her works in Videoarte Brasil 1975, revealed her patient poetry to be as universal as it is timeless.
By the 1980s the artist re-embraced painting but also perpetuated her multi-media endeavors.Collected and presented worldwide, her work was included in a group show in the Brazil Pavilion at XXXIX Venice Biennale, 1980. Among her many distinctions is a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, awarded in 1983 for film research. In 1987, with Fernando Cocchiarale, she co-authoreda landmark study, Geometric and Informal Abstractionism: The Brazilian Avant-garde in the Fifties.
In the 21st century, Geiger’s older and current artworks continue to make waves. Her achievements have been showcased in notable exhibitions such as Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985 (toured to US and Brazil in 20017) and a major retrospective, Anna Bella Geiger: Native Brazil/Alien Brazil.
Countless Brazilian and international presentations affirm the continuing relevance of Geiger’s themes and experimentation. She has remained as devoted to her studio endeavors as she is to presenting courses, lectures, interviews and commentaries.
Her impact is ever-expanding among those who study her and, those who have, or currently, study with this tireless pioneer.


Circumambulatio (1972)
Slides, 8'30", color, sound; BW and color photos, 60 slides; surveys on loose sheets of Canson paper and photocopies More
Passages I (1974)
Video, magnetic tape, 12'04", B&W, sound, 1/2 inch open reel More
Centerminal (1974)
Video, magnetic tape, 1’55”, B&W, sound, 1/2 inch open reel. More
Statement in portrait n. 1 (1974)
Video, magnetic tape, 16’34”, B&W, sound, 1/2 inch open reel. More
Passages II (1974)
Video, magnetic tape, 11'12", B&W, sound, 1/2 inch open reel. More
Joseph Beuys talks to Anna Bella Geiger (1975)
Video, 10’45”, B&W, sound More
Wireless telephone (1976)
video, 13', B&W, sound More
Elementary maps n. 1 (1976)
Video, magnetic tape, 3’13", B&W, sound, 1/2 inch open reel. More
Elementary maps n. 2 (1976)
Video, magnetic tape, 3’43", B&W, sound, 1/2 inch open reel. More
Elementary maps n. 3 (1976)
Video, magnetic tape, 3'22", B&W, sound, 1/2 inch open reel. More
Statement in portrait n. 2 (1976)
Video, magnetic tape 10’46”, B&W, sound, 1/2 inch open reel. More
Action site (1978)
Video, magnetic tape, 1'55", colour, sound, 1/2 inch open reel. Part of the video installation Our daily bread (1978). More
Our daily bread (1978)
Video installation; video, table and frieze More
Pedra — objeto de arte (1982)
Video, 30’, color, sound More
Burocracia (1982)
Video, 38’, color, sound More
Ideologia (1982)
Video, 20’, color, sound More
On art (1983)
Video, 2’, color, sound More
The smile of the Cheshire cat in Alice (in Wonderland) (1994)
Video installation More
Rrose Sélavy (1997–2011)
Video installation; silkscreened newspaper pages, newspaper bales, three monitors, 10' video on a two-hour loop More
Eject (2001)
Digital, 12’, color. Part of the video installation Undifferentiated (2001), on a two-hour loop. More
Out of control (2002)
Video, 1’20” More
Estou no mato, estou no mar… (2003)
Video, 15’, color More
Circa I, II e III (2006, 2007, 2008)
Video, 30’, color, sound More
Circa IV (2009)
Video installation; video, 5'38", color, sound More
Zona Portuária com águas dos mares (2010)
Video, 10', color, sound and color photography More
Circa V (2011)
Video installation; video, 10’ More
Cuidado, cão feroz (2012)
Video, 1’, color, sound More
Trenzinho (2012)
​Video, color, sound More
Making Of