Marco Tirelli was born in 1956 in Rome where he still lives and works. In the same city he studied set-design with Toti Scialoja at the Accademia di Belle Arti and soon after became a founder of the "Nuova Scuola Romana" (New Roman School movement), together with Gianni Dessì, Nunzio, Bruno Ceccobelli and Piero Pizzi Cannella. His early group shows included "Italiana. Nuova immagine" in Ravenna (1980) and inclusion in the Venice Biennale (1981). Three years later he held his first solo show at the Galleria L'Attico, Rome. In the mid-80s he moved his studio into the spaces of the former Cerere pasta factory, in the San Lorenzo area of Rome which, soon after, became a reference point for the contemporary art scene. In 1985 his work was seen in the group show "Anniottanta" at the GAM in Bologna; in a solo show at the Galleria Civica in Modena; at a two-man show (with Sol LeWitt) at the American Academy in Rome; as well as at the Sydney Biennial. In 1990 a room in the Venice Biennale was wholly devoted to his work. He was awarded the Premio Michetti in 1997. A large solo show of Tirelli's work was hosted at the GAM in Bologna in 2003.
For the Fattoria di Celle, in 2009, he created his first sculptures, made in iron and titled "Excelle". Their installation coincided with his temporary exhibition of painting at Casapeppe titled "Intorno al visibile".