José LuisCastillejo

Biography

José Luis Castillejo (1930 Seville, Spain – 2014 Houston, Texas, USA) was a diplomat, poet, and critic. He was among the members of the Zaj who were not trained in music but rather in philosophy and literature. After completing his education in Paris, Buenos Aires, Madrid, and Cambridge (UK), Castillejo worked at the Spanish Embassy in Washington, D.C., then moved on to Algiers, Stuttgart, Madrid, and Benin in over thirty years of diplomatic service. In 1966, Castillejo met Hidalgo and Marchetti and became a member of the artist group Zaj until 1969. His oeuvre includes collections of experimental poetry, artist’s books, recordings, graphic works, and ephemera concerned with the hybridizations between the written and the visual, language and typography. His work emphasizes the absolute autonomy of writing, articulating reality using only its most essential elements of expression. Examples include The Book of I’s (1969) and The Book of Eighteen Letters (1972). Castillejo also wrote theoretical texts on politics, society, and contemporaneity, such as Actualidad y participación (1968) and La política (1968). In 1966, on the occasion of Zaj’s first retrospective at the Reina Sofía in Madrid, Castillejo resumed writing, releasing numerous records and the acclaimed The Unwritten Writing (1996), The Book of J’s (1999), and Letrabra in collaboration with Eduardo Scala (2012). Casteillejo’s work has been presented at the MUSAC – Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (2018) and the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo in Sevilla (2018) and is included in the collections of the MACBA – Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

Artworks (1)