His work shows a critic to the modern society due to the tough censoring he suffered during the dictatorial period in Brazil. He founded the "Grupo Rex" together with Geraldo de Barros and Wesley Duke with one main objective: to analyse in a pejorative way the art in that moment which, according to them, was based on production, valuation and commercialisation. Leirner won the 2nd Jahnnie Walker prize of Fine Arts and represented Brazil at the 48th Venice Biennale, as well as the Biennale de Sao Paulo in several occasions. In 2007, the ABCA (Brazilian Association of Art Critic) awarded him for his artistic career, and in 2009 he was honoured as "Reference Artist" by the Itau Cultural Institute. He also won the price "Gobernador del Estado de Sao Paulo”.
48th Venice Biennale (1999)
In 1999 Leirner presented ‘Futebol’, installation where a crowd of football enthusiasts queued up at a stadium.The two ensembles of figures, which partly overlap, ranges from Christ and the saints on the one hand to Buddha-figures and an African water goddess on the other. Viewers in the stadium include Snowwhite and a good deal more than seven dwarves and other denizens of Disneyworld as well as monks with shaven heads and black jazz singers in white suits and white bowler hats. But who are the football players, and what is the game? The players are all apes. Members of the military were referred to as apes in Brazil in the 70s, whereas in the 80s apes came to stand for endangered species.