The poetic and artistic activities of the Spanish poet and artist José Luis Castillejo (1930 - 2014) are closely linked to the places of his diplomatic activity. José Luis Castillejo is considered as one of the main representatives of Concrete Poetry.
Due to the Spanish Civil War, José Luis Castillejo grew up in Paris (1936 - 1937) and Buenos Aires (1938 - 1945). From 1945 to 1953 he studied law in Seville and Madrid, graduating with a doctorate. He then went to study French literature at the Université de Poitiers and English literature at the University of Cambridge. From 1953 to 1959 he attended the Diplomatic School in Madrid and the Colegium Academicum in Heidelberg to study German literature.
In 1959, José Luis Castillejo entered the diplomatic service and worked in the Spanish Embassy in Washington until 1964 and then in the Spanish Embassy in Algiers until 1968 and then in the Spanish Embassy in Bonn until 1970. From 1970 to 1974, he served as Director of International Economic Cooperation in Madrid. He has been Consul General in Stuttgart from 1974 to 1978, Ambassador to Nigeria and Benin from 1978 to 1986, and Consul General in Houston (Texas) from 1986 to 1988.
In 1966 Castillejo met the two artists and musicians Juan Hidalgo and Walter Marchetti and joined the artist group Zaj. His first artist book La caída del avión en el terreno baldío was produced. In 1969 he left the Zaj group again. José Luis Castillejo published numerous publications and essays since 1966. These include several artists' books, artists' records, graphics and ephemera, and theoretical texts on art. His artistic works were all created in the context of concrete and visual poetry, as well as auditory poetry, also known in Spain as Experimental Poetry or, by Castillejo, as "nueva escritura." In 1978 Castillejo stopped his literary and artistic activities until 1996, when he started writing again, both philosophical essays and artists' books, on the occasion of the first Zaj retrospective at the Museo Reina Sofía. He also began to produce artists' records.
In total, two artists' records and one compact disc, which was released once again as a record after José Luis Castillejo's death, have been published:
The book of i's, 1998 (record, Milán: Alga Marghen).
The book of J's, 1999 (record, Milán: Alga Marghen)
Tlalaatala, 2001 (CD, Milán: Alga Marghen)
Tlalaatala, 2016 (record, Milán: Alga Marghen)