Luigi Ontani was born on 24 November 1943 in Montovolo di Grizzana Morandi, near Vergato, a small village on the slopes of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. As a boy he loved reading, interested above all in Pasolini, Apollinaire, Joyce, Savinio, Marinetti and the Futurists, and he also revealed an early inclination towards poetry.
He held two important anthological exhibitions in 2001, at the P.S.1 Gallery, New York, and, from 2003 to 2004, at S.M.A.K. in Ghent. In 2008 he presented a wide-ranging solo show at MAMbo, Bologna, which was followed in successive years by shows at the Museo Capodimonte, Naples (2010), at the Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2001-2012), and at GAMeC, Bergamo (2014-2015).