Born in Carrara, where he studied at the local Accademia di Belle Arti, Massari now lives and works between Carrara and Turin. He holds the Sculpture Chair at the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti in Turin, where he was previously director.
He began his artistic career in 1980 by winning the competition to execute the work Icarus Millenovecentottantaquattro (Icarus Onethousandninehundredandeightyfour) in Trinidad and Tobago. The sculptor has taken part in many solo and group exhibitions, and international competitions. His works are on display in private and public collections in Italy and abroad.
Luciano Massari’s recent output springs from research with strong architectural overtones and his investigations have produced environmental works, a close dialogue between sculpture and poetry, and collaborations with other artists. Between 2002 and 2005, he explored with Marco Nereo Rotelli the relationship between the visual arts and words, through a series of artistic projects in which Mario Luzi, Alda Merini, Fernanda Pivano and Maria Luisa Spaziani participated.
In May 2004 Luciano Massari was a guest of the Rapa Nui Foundation on Easter Island where he executed the permanent sculptural installation 7 Truths at Puna Pau: a profound experience whose outcome – not merely thematic – embodied the essence of sculptural practice.
In 2005 he took part in the 51st Venice Biennale, within the ambit of the special project Poetry Island, and in the exhibition ‘La Poesie Italienne Comme Oeuvre d’Art’ (Paris, Mairie du 5me Arrondissement). The same year, his work The Island of Identity entered the Gori Collection at Fattoria di Celle.
In 2007 he was invited to the Biennale di Arte Sacra Fondazione Staurus at the Sanctuary of San Gabriele, Teramo. He continued to explore the theme of the island through the relationship between the material – marble – and the mental aspect of a journey as a time for introspection through his work for the exhibition ‘Arcipelaghi’, which took the form of a spectacular installation at the Fortezza Firmafede at Sarzana in 2007. The following year, the artist investigated the theme of wandering, developing its lyrical aspects, in his solo show ‘Impronte’.
In March 2008 he created an environmental work, Island within an Island for the Giardino di Daniel Spoerri Foundation at Seggiano, Grossetto, and in the summer displayed the installation Archipelagos at the 13th International Sculpture Biennale of Carrara, ‘Nient’altro che Scultura – Nothing but Sculpture’, curated by Francesco Poli.
In autumn 2008, one of Massari’s video installations was presented at Grand Central Terminal in New York, as part of the celebrations for Columbus Day.
In July 2009, Massari continued his research on site-specific art and the links between art, society and sustainability through the large installation entitled To the Moon, visible throughout the surrounding area. It was sited in the Ravaccione basin at the historical Michelangelo quarries, Carrara, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first manned moon landing.
In April 2010, his solo exhibition ‘New Geographies’ opened in the Giardino di Daniel Spoerri at Seggiano, and in winter 2010–2011 his video Action 3 was shown at the National Cinema Museum in Turin.
In the spring of 2011 he took part in the International Sculpture Festa (ISF) ‘Contemporary Sculpture Identity’ at the Seoul Museum Hangaram Art Center of Art, South Korea. In the summer he displayed his works at the group show ‘Su Nero Nero’, curated by Franz Paludetto, at Rivara Castle, near Turin. In 2013 he showed again at the ISF in Seoul.
Eminent critics and curators have written about his work, including Jacopo Cannas, Bruno Corà, Andrea B. Del Guercio, Mario De Micheli, Floriano De Santi, Daria Filardo, Giorgio Di Genova, Massimo Donà, Matteo Innocenti, Nicola Miceli, Tommaso Paloscia, Francesco Poli, Giò Pomodoro, Ludovico Pratesi, Giandomenico Semeraro, Gabriella Serusi and Marisa Vescovo. Numerous articles about Massari have appeared in the specialized press, periodicals and newspapers at the national and international level.
Several TV programmes and documentaries have also been devoted to Luciano Massari’s work. In 2005 France 3 featured him as an artist in the thematic programme Des Racines et des Ailes. The Chinese film director Wang Xiaoshuai (Silver Lion at the Berlin Film Festival) interviewed the artist in Tuscany Dream, a documentary shot for China, and the director Dixson Tam presented Massari’s work on Hong Kong national television. He was recently interviewed by Space TV and the RAI Channel 2 programme Voyager (December 2010). Taiwan and Japanese television devoted features to him in January 2010 and in 2011.
Massari also gave two revealing radio interviews: one broadcast on Radio RAI 3 Suite on the occasion of the To the Moon installation (14 July 2009) and the other on Radio Papesse (Il Marmo Chiede Umiltà – Marble Requires Humility) during the 2010 International Sculpture Biennale of Carrara).