Lucilla Catania was born in Rome. She attended the Accademia di Belle Arti in via Ripetta, graduating with a Diploma in Sculpture with Emilio Greco.
Between 1980 and 1981 she lived in France studying, where, in Paris she met César through whom she came into contact with the international art circles.
On returning to Rome in 1982, she began to work on a series of sculptures in terracotta clay that bore the fundamentals of her qualities, by then, already decidedly autonomous and free from both the analytical and conceptual trends and those of neo-informalism. Her artistic search involved an idea of sculpture dovetailing the classical features of tri-dimensionality and the awareness of the new social and cultural codes of the contemporary world.
In 1985, after various collective exhibitions in Italy and abroad, Lucilla Catania participated in the exhibition, Nuove trame dell’arte, organized by Achille Bonito Oliva. It was during 1985, that the artist gradually gave up her work in terracotta to discover stone and marble, materials that then were to become the main choice of a new cycle in her work. The compactness, definition and formal perfection that could be achieved through marble speeded up her search in stripping away formal redundancies, arriving at a dimension of immateriality and absence of gravity.
In 1988, she held her first one-woman show in Milan, at the Galleria Artra, and in the same year, she participated in the collective exhibition, Modi della scultura, organized by Filiberto Menna, and Geometrie dionisiache, under Lea Vergine. In 1989, the latter organized her personal exhibition, Statue, in Galleria Oddi Baglioni in Rome. In this year, she also participated in the collective exhibition, Orientamenti dell’arte italiana dal 1947 ad oggi, organized by Simonetta Lux, in Moscow and Leningrad. In 1990 she was invited to the Venice Biennial in the section “Aperto 90”, organized by Giovanni Carandente.
In 1991, the Klavniho Mesta Gallery in Prague held an individual exhibition of her work. There followed her participation in the exhibitions of Kunstlandschaft Europa-Roma, under Peter Weiermeir at the Kunstverein in Frankfurt, and Roma interna, under Lóránd Hegyi at the Palais Liechtenstein in Vienna.
Towards the end of the same year, Lucilla Catania published Fondazione di una nuova classicità per l’arte contemporanea in the art magazine “Titolo” where she summarized the theoretical foundations of her work.
In 1995, together with fellow artists Renato Mambor, Cloti Ricciardi, Alberto Zanazzo, Fiorella Rizzo and Laura Palmieri, she founded the group A regola d’arte, a project aimed at spreading ideas on art and which resulted in numerous events being organized between 1995 and 1997.
Thereafter, towards the end of the ‘90s and the beginning of 2000, the artist embarked on a new cycle of work, again taking up the use of terracotta clay, but this time in conjunction with marble.
Other important exhibitions followed, both individual shows and collectives, including Lavori in corso at the Galleria Comunale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Rome (1998/1999), La Scultura Italiana del dopoguerra: un percorso, in Castello di Vigevano (2000), La Scultura Italiana del XX secolo in Japanese museums (2001), La Seduzione della Materia – Scultori Italiani da Medardo Rosso alle generazioni recenti, organized by Anna Imponente for the Province of Milan (2002), La Biennale di scultura di Gubbio (2005), Sculture in Villa – Villa d’Este, Rome (2006), Sogni di mezza estate at the Austrian Cultural Forum in Rome, under Christoph Bertsch (2007). In the autumn of the same year, the artist participated in the exhibition, Autobiografia / autoritratto, organized by the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Rome in the historical building of the H.C. Andersen Museum and the exhibition, Modi Monumental, at the Interno Ventidue Gallery in Rome. In the atmospheric courtyard of L’Aquila’s 16th century castle, that hosts the Museo Nazionale d’Abruzzo, the curator Anna Imponente had her sculpture Naturale (2007) installed as a permanent exhibit. In 2008, the Museo della Scultura Contemporanea in Matera, managed by Giuseppe Appella, purchased one of her works. In the same year Lucilla Catania participated in the international collective exhibition Energia della materia, la materia dell’energia, held in the Casa Italia in Beijing, China, during the period of the Olympic Games.
Other important collective exhibitions include, in 2009, Cella. Strutture di emarginazione e disciplinamento, organized by Christoph Bertsch, at the Complesso del San Michele in Rome. Then, in 2010, exhibitions at MUSMA in Matera, Dodici disegni per due sculture, in a joint show with Cloti Ricciardi followed and then her work titled Drappo rosso was permanently installed in the gardens of the Convent of the Passionisti della Scala Santa in Rome. In the same, year, the Agency for the Historical, Artistic and Ethno-anthropological Heritage of Latium purchased one of Lucilla Catania’s works titled Libri in rosso, which was permanently installed at the entrance to the Photographic Archives of Palazzo Venezia in Rome. In 2011 she participated to the important exhibition curated by Anna Imponente Passato-Presente, dialoghi d’Abruzzo at the Castello Colonna (Genazzano). The 2013 is the year of the double solo exhibition of Lucilla Catania, Staareandare, curated by Roberto Gramiccia and Luca Barreca at the National Museum of Oriental Art in Rome and Anna Imponente at the Palazzetto Venezia. In the same year she’s been invited to participate to the collective exhibition Gegenwelten in Innsbruck. In october 2013 the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome permanently installs two sculptures of the artist in the outdoor space of the Giardino delle Fontane: Libri in giallo (2008) and Libro in giallo (2012).