Famous exponent of the body art, Ontani undertook a committed artistic research starting from the seventies, experimenting with various techniques (photography, painting, sculpture on different materials) and using his own body to investigate the ambiguity and complexity of human nature. Perfect example is the series of so-called tableaux vivants, in which he appeared with the ambivalent role of author and model.
He started his studies in Bologna but, after frequent trips in the far East, he settled in Rome in 1970. In contact with the Turin artistic environment, he exhibited for the first time in Bologna in 1967, presenting paintings, drawings and artifacts. Experimenter and nonconformist, Ontani blends irony and narcissism in a crossover between the sacred and the profane, myth and fable, oriental and western culture. In addition to experimenting with photographic techniques, he devoted himself to the elaboration of performances and large-scale self-portraits inspired by historical or literary figures. Since the 1980s his work has been characterized by a dreamlike-surreal inspiration and by an interest in manual craftsmanship.