Vera Isler was born in Berlin in 1931 of a Polish father, Heinz Leiner, and a Hungarian mother,
Louise Leiner-Reichmann, who sent her to Switzerland in 1936 to ensure her safety. Her Parents perished in
Belzec in 1942.
Her schooldays between 1938 and 1949 were spent in Teufen and Trogen in Switzerland, canton of Appenzell.
Commencing in 1950, she trained as a medical technician in the University Hospital, Berne.
1953: birth of her daughter Franziska.
During this period, she worked in the Swiss National Foundation research laboratories. She found forms of
expression in acting, films, TV moderation and the creation of objects using composite materials.
1963: birth of her daughter Katharina.
From now on, Vera Isler stepped up her artistic activities and began to participate in solo and
Following a six-months' stay in the United States in 1980 she has
concentrated more and more on photography. She uses her camera
like a pen, her insatiable curiosity leading her to concentrate on faces.
Travels through Europe, Siberia, Japan and Australia deepen and
enhance her perception.
Numerous prizes and distrinctions accompany her artistic career, paying
hommage to the quality and originality of her work.
From 1981 onwards, her activities centre on the concept and publication
of reports and books of photographs in the fields of architecture and art,
with a predeliction for portrait. Her work regularly appears in newspapers
and magazines of international repute. In 1986, the publication of a book of portraits
"Schaut uns an" (a collection of photographs showing people over eighty) appears as a
provocation and confirms her reputation as a photographer in Switzerland and throughout the world.
Vera Isler is married to Manuel Isler, a journalist, and divides her times between their homes in Bottmingen near
Basel, Nice and New York.
Biography (selected list):
1931 - Born in Berlin by the name of Vera Sulamith Leiner
1936 - Emigration to Switzerland
1938/49 - School in Teufen/Trogen, Gymnasium App. Switzerland
1942 - Her parents were killed in Belzec
1949 - Apprenticeship as a medical assistant,
University Hospital, Bern.
1963/68 - "Dreamtime", tapestries
1968/78 - "Programmierungen", reliefs, objects
1978/84 - "Chromos-omen", DNA-Story, written reliefs on lead
1964/86 - Prizes & Commissions:
Textile wall installation, Zürich;
Concrete wall relief in swimming pool, Basel;
Wall fresco, Basel, etc.
1980 - Living in New York and L.A. for one year.
Concentration in photography -
(photoreports for medias, art/architecture/ doc.)
1982 - Photobook "Kunst der Verweigerung"*,
Graffitis in Swiss youth centers
1986 - Photobook "Schaut uns an"*, portraits of people over 80
1987 - Photobook "Mäss auf dem Petersplatz"
1988 - Photobook "Spitzen-Plätze"*, (portraits of The Swiss Elite)
1992 - Photobook "Switch", portraits of photographers
1992 - Photobook "Face to Face", portraits of artists
1995 - Photobook "Mario Botta, Bank am Aeschenplatz Basel"*
1998 - Falling ill from breast cancer, Mastectomy.
Created her own tattoo "The Blue Flower" design.
2000 - "Auch Ich", Autobiography
* indicates OUT OF PRINT
SOLO - Exhibitions (selected list):
Galerie Läubli, CH-Zürich 1967
Galerie Felix Handschin, CH-Basel 1968
Hamburger Künstlerklub "Die Insel", D-Hamburg, 1968
Kunstamt Tiergarten von Berlin, D-Berlin, 1969
Galerie Verena Müller, CH-Bern, 1970
Galerie Nelly L'éplattenier; CH-Chaux de Fonds, 1970
Relief, Object, Genetik
Galerie Charles Lienhard, CH-Basel, 1971
Galerie Susanne Bollag, CH-Zürich, 1971
Galerie Trudelhaus, CH-Baden, 1972
Galerie Nelly L'éplattenier; CH-Chaux de Fonds, 1972
Galleria Sincron, J-Brescia, 1973
Galerie Brambach, CH-Basel, 1975
Galerie Riehentor, Trudel Bruckner, 1976
Galerie Nelly L'éplattenier, 1976
Galerie am Fischmarkt, CH-Liestal, 1977
Nova Art, CH Zürich, 1977
Galerie Media Zofingen, "Genetik" Blei-Schreib-Objekte 1983
Galerie Schindler Bern, "Genetik" Blei-Schreib-Objekte 1984
Photo Work from 1980
Galerie Nikon, Zürich und Galerie photo art, Basel "Gay in USA", 1981
Theater am Turm, D-Frankfurt, AJZ-"Kunst der Verweigerung", 1982
Galerie Zur Stockeregg, Zürich "Menschen über 80", 1986
Galerie Siegert, Basel "Menschen", 1991
Galerie Scalo, Zürich, "Rollenwechsel", 1992
Face to Face, Swiss Institute, US-New York, 1992
Face to Face, Musée d'Art Moderne de Nice/France, 1992
Face to Face, Kunsthalle A-Wien, 1992
Galerie Scalo, Zürich, "Rollenwechsel", 1992
Historisches Archiv D-Köln, "Rollenwechsel", 1992
Musée de l'Elysée, CH-Lausanne, "Rollenwechsel", 1993
FNAC, F-Paris "Rollenwechsel", 1993
Face to Face, Palazzo delle Esposizione Rome,Italy, 1994
Face to Face, 25.ART - Basel, Switzerland, 1994
Face to Face, Galerie Raab, D-Berlin, 1995
Face to Face, Kasseler Kunstverein Fridericianum, D-Kassel, 1995
Museum der Kulturen, CH-Basel, "Peking/Hongkong" Installation, 1996
Galerie Siegert, Basel, "Peking/Hongkong", 1996
Bank Austria, A-Wien, "Peking/Hongkong" Installation, 1997
Galerie Atrium ed Arte, S. Grossmann, A-Wien, "Peking/Hongkong", 1997
Face to Face, Galerie Arte Giani, D-Frankfurt, 1998
Face to Face, Fotoforum St.Gallen, Switzerland, 1998
Autobiographie "Auch ich". 2000
Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin, "Bosom and the Golden Calf",
and book opening "Auch Ich" (2000)
Atrium et Arte, Wien, "Bosom and the Golden Calf",
and Reading (2001)
Galerie René Steiner, CH-Erlach, "Timecode", 2002 (Retropektive)
GROUP EXHIBITIONS (1963 - present)
2006 Selected List:
Oxyd,"Beauty and Artificial" CH-Winterthur
Künstlerhaus S11 "Geburt" CH-Solothurn
Atrium ed Arte,"UND", A-Wien
Klingental "Unter 2000". Basel
2007: SGBK, "Frauenschreibbilder", Thalwil
Since 2000 Video Films
© Vera Isler-Leiner, Directing, Camera, Editing
"First Museum Night in Basel", 2001, NTSC (VHS) 14'30"
"USA - IRAQ", Demonstration in Manhattan, March 2003, NTSC (VHS)
13'30". More than 200,000 New Yorkers marched...
"Where are the ashes of my parents", 2003, NTSC (VHS) 25'21"
Polen: Auschwitz - Birkenau - Belzec
"Kindergarten without Toys", Jan to April, 2004, Basel, PAL 77'
Empty hands... still a lot of fun
"The Gates", Christo's work in the Central Park, New York
February 2005, DVD and VHS 16'19"
"One day in the studio of Donald Baechler"
Artist in Chelsea, New York, 2005, DVD 12' 30"
"Bits and Pieces", 42nd Street in Manhattan, 2003, NTSC (VHS) 44' and short version 29', 2004. The state of being of the New York's famous "Sex-Street" after the cleaning by the Mayor Giuliani
42nd Street Installation with video
at Art Basel 2004 in Art House@N21
VIDEOFILM, short version 28 min. and long version 44 min
VERA ISLER taped her video "Bits and Pieces" at 42nd Street in New York.
This small area around Times Square has been known for years as the "red light district"
with all its porn- and peep-shows, stripteases and bordellos.
New York's former mayor Rudolph Giuliani changed the appearance of this neighbourhood.
It shows now its best-cleaned side.
In the underground sex-life is still present, just in an other, more hidden way.
Two, three years later, Vera Isler was looking, searching with her videocamera in the
same area. She found and filmed performances, dances, Mme. Tussaudís Wax Museum,
the artificial world and the reality, showing the contrast and mix of this microcosm.
The four video stills catch the 42nd Street
show the speeded, but harmless world. - Marion Wild
From 2004/2006 new Videostills (www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk),
direct on Metall/Alu, 100x130 cm
Ab 2004/2008 neu Videostills ,
direct on Metall/Alu 100x130 cm
Vera Isler continues to receive many awards and prizes, attending talkshows, interviews on TV and Radio.
Also holds lectures about her book " Auch Ich".
Spalenring 36, 4055 Basel, Schweiz