He is known especially for his writings in the French language. In Romania he studied history and philosophy at the University of Bucharest before starting writing for the theatre in 1977. During the following ten years he wrote some 20 plays, but all of them were banned by the Romanian censors. In 1987 he was invited to France by a literary foundation, and he asked for political asylum. Since then he has been writing mostly in French, and he has received French nationality.
After the fall of communism in Romania, in 1989, Matei Visniec became one of the most performed playwrights in the country, with more than 30 plays put on in Bucharest and other towns. In 1996 the National Theatre of Timisoara organized a Matei Visniec Festival with 12 companies presenting his plays. His international audience as a playwright started in 1992, with the play Horses at the Windows performed in France, and Old Clown Wanted at the "Bonner Biennale". Since then, Visniec has had more than 20 plays performed in France (Théâtre Guichet Montparnasse, Studio des Champs-Elysées, Théâtre du Rond-Point de Champs Elysées - Paris, Théâtre de l'Utopie - La Rochelle, Compagnie Pli Urgent - Lyon, Théâtre Le Jodel - Avignon, Théâtre de Lenche and Théâtre de la Minoterie - Marseille, Compagnie Nice-Théâtre Vivant - Nice, etc.). Old Clown Wanted has been performed in: France, Germany, United States, Denmark, Austria, Poland, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Brazil, Romania, Moldavia, and Georgia.