Marina Apollonio was born in Trieste on November 12, 1940. She attended the Accademia di Belle Arti of Venice, where she trained under Giuseppe Santomaso. In 1960 she started researching architectural solutions for interiors, and in 1962 she first addressed modes of visual communication, at which time she produced her first metallic reliefs with alternating color sequences. By employing the proprieties of industrial materials she shared the intentionally depersonalized vision of other Optical artists, in opposition to the concept of expressive abstraction. She exploited the illusionistic visual experiments of Gibson, Purdy, and Lawrence to create works that seemed to physically draw the viewer into the painting; the flat surface had virtually disappeared.

In 1965 she took part in a group show at the Suvremene Umjetnosti gallery of Zagreb with other members of Nova Tendencija 3, an international movement which she had previously joined. This was followed by many solo exhibitions, at the Galleria Il Cenobio in Padua (1967), at the Galleria Sincron in Bergamo (1968), at the Galerie Historial in Venice (1970), and at the Galleria Method in Vigevano (1975). She began, very simply, by investigating the various ways that elementary forms and structures could appear. From this starting point, her work was executed rigorously, from initial idea straight to production, on the basis of a mathematical system. After choosing a primary shape, for instance a circle, the artist would study its structural possibilities so that she could make it active, all the while striving to garner the maximum result via minimal means. This process was not at all tainted by subjectivity. Rather, she sought to communicate specific messages in a visual way.

From 1975 onward, Marina Apollonio’s work was based on the orthogonal interaction of vertical and horizontal colored lines on a black background. These pieces were shown in 1979, along with others, in a solo exhibition at the Galleria Arte Struktura in Milan. The artist worked extensively both in Italy and abroad until the 1980s, at which point she decided to devote herself entirely to study and research. She currently lives in Padua.