Born in Bucharest (the son of a Jewish tailor), he spoke Yiddish, Romanian, German, and French. During 1938, he traveled frequently to Paris where he was introduced to the Surrealist circles. World War II and the official antisemitism in Romania forced him into local exile. During the short pre-Communist period of Romanian independence, he founded a Surrealist artists group, together with Gellu Naum, Paul Păun, Virgil Teodorescu and Dolfi Trost.
He was the inventor of cubomania (a type of collage) and, with Dolfi Trost, the author of the statement "Dialetic of Dialectic" in 1945. Harassed in Romania and caught while trying to flee the country, the self-called étran-juif ("StranJew") finally left Romania in 1952, and moved to Paris through Israel. There he worked among others with Jean Arp, Paul Celan, François Di Dio and Max Ernst, producing numerous collages, drawings, objects, and text-installations. From 1967, his reading sessions took him to places like Stockholm, Oslo, Geneva, New York City, and San Francisco. The 1988 TV-portrait by Raoul Sanglas, Comment s'en sortir sans sortir, made him famous for a larger readership. In 1994, he was expelled from his apartment officially for "hygiene reasons." Luca had spent forty years in France without papers and could not cope. On February 9, at the age of 80, he committed suicide by jumping into the Seine.
Luca initially wrote most of his poetic works in his native Romanian. Two collections of these, Inventatorul Iubirii and Un lup văzut printr-o lupă, published in Bucharest in 1945, were translated into English (The Inventor of Love and Other Works) by Julian and Laura Semilian and published by Black Widow Press in 2009. With the authorisation of éditions Corti, a forthcoming chapbook of his poems translated by Fiona Sze-Lorrain will be featured in "Poetry International", Issue no. 15, Spring 2010.