Estructura / Spain 1920-2000 / JOSÉ LUIS CASTILLEJO

José Luis Castillejo (Seville, 1930–Houston, 2014), writer, diplomat, art critic and essayist, is the author of a work deemed one of the most innovative of its time in Spain, representing a high point in national and international experimental writing.

As a theorist, Castillejo strived to establish solid foundations for the development of ‘modern writing’, which dispensed with narrative formulas, and following in the footsteps of ‘modern’ painting and music, which forwent images and melody respectively. A diplomat in Washington, Algiers, Bonn, Stuttgart, Nigeria and Houston; a friend of critics, such as Clement Greenberg and Marcelin Pleynet; a prominent member of the group Zaj from 1966 to 1969; and an art collector, the work of Castillejo is full of landmarks in the field of creation, essay writing and critique, with titles such as La caída del avión en el terreno baldío, Actualidad y participación, The book of i’s, El libro de la letra, La escritura no escrita, TLALAATALA, and Ensayos sobre arte y escritura. Much of his output remains unpublished, belonging to the collections of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and Archivo Lafuente.

This collection contains almost 150 documents, including publications, graphic work, correspondence, photographs, audiovisual material and, above all, around 100 original and unpublished books. In terms of its reception, the work of Castillejo has always been highly-regarded in specialist circles with a mythical aura. Nevertheless, up to now it has been practically unknown, even for those who were familiar with his work: the proportion of books that ended up being published is minimal in comparison with the unpublished, which few had come into contact with until now.

The work of Castillejo is currently undergoing a resurgence in terms of dissemination and awareness thanks to the first retrospective of his oeuvre, rendered across three exhibitions: Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC) (February–May, 2018), the Palacete del Embarcadero de la Autoridad Portuaria in Santander (August, 2018) and the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (CAAC) in Seville (October 2018–January 2019).

 



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