Born in Italy in 1958, Massimo Antonaci trained at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, Milan, where he earned an MFA in sculpture. Early experimentation led the artist to integrate the magmatic and opaque quality of tar with the transparent and pure quality of glass. His work in glass, tar and, eventually, acrylic has been exhibited throughout Italy, Europe and the United States.
Following his move to New York in the early 1990s, Antonaci presented in solo and group shows with the legendary art dealer John Weber, who was known for his early advocacy of Conceptual Art, Post-Minimalist sculpture and Arte Povera.
Focussed on finding metaphysical meaning, Antonaci embarked on several pilgrimages throughout his career, walking along sacred paths, such as the Camino de Santiago de Compostela and the path of the Virgo Constellation, marked by French cathedrals, and undertaking a pilgrimage to India’s Shankaracharya temples. On these journeys, the artist used Polaroid film to capture, in his words, ‘what the ego-less eye is able to see when in a state of physical and mental exhaustion’. Combining the pictures from these pilgrimages with modular glass sheets, Antonaci developed a number of series (including Walking Alone in One’s Body, Self-Portrait) presented in solo shows in the US and Italy.
In 2000, Antonaci founded the publishing house Aurea Vidyā, focussed on Eastern and Western philosophy, and also started working closely with non-profit institutions, ‘making space to create while in silence’. It is during this period that Antonaci started working with papyrus, creating Sacred Fires or Circles between 2002 and 2008 (presented for the first time at Rossi & Rossi Hong Kong in 2017).
Antonaci’s collaborations with non-profit institutions have led to unique projects, such as a series for North Africa sponsored by the Fondazione Orestiadi (2010) and a retrospective at Collezione Maramotti (2012), which was accompanied by the publication of the book Odos (2012).
Massimo Antonaci’s work is in private and public collections.