Born in Italy in 1958, Massimo Antonaci trained at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, Milan, where he earned an M.F.A. 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 shown in exhibitions 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 dealer John Weber who was known for his early advocacy of Conceptual Art, Post-Minimalist sculpture and Arte Povera.
Focused on a search for metaphysical meaning, Antonaci embarked on several pilgrimages throughout his career, walking along sacred paths like the Camino de Santiago da Compostela, the path of the Virgo Constellation marked by French cathedrals, the piglrimate to the Śaṅkarācarya’s temples in India. 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 pilgrimages with modular glass sheets, Antonaci developed a number of series (Walking Alone in One’s Body, Self-Portrait) presented in solo shows in the U.S. and Italy.
In 2000, Antonaci founded the publishing house Aurea Vidyā, focused 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 the 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 has led to unique projects, such as a series for North Africa sponsored by the Fondazione Orestiadi (2010) and a retrospective at Collezione Maramotti (2012), accompanied by the publication of the book ‘Odos’ (Danilo Montanari Editions, 2012).