Pepe Espaliú soon outgrew Córdoba and went to Seville in search of new environments and cultural references. From there he moved on to Barcelona, a city that was in many ways a bridge to Europe during the dark years of the Franco regime. Paris was his next destination. During his time in the city he discovered psychoanalysis, attended the famous series of seminars given by Jacques Lacan, and came to terms with his homosexuality by reading works by Jean Genet and other authors. When he returned to Spain in the mid-1980s, he did so as a correspondent for the Paris-based magazine Figura, and with the conviction that the time had come to give expression to his immense universe of light and shadow through painting. The driving force behind La Máquina Española—a gallery directed by José Cobo, based first in Seville and later in Barcelona—Espaliú was initially the leading figure in a generation of Andalusian artists. Over time, though, he followed his own path in sculpture, equipped with a cultural and intellectual background that was uncommon in Spain. London, Amsterdam and New York were among the cities where his work, marred by AIDS, was exhibited. Despite his illness, he had time to form a group called the Carrying Society, aimed at raising awareness of AIDS in society, and he played a key role in one of the best achieved actions of contemporary Spanish art, held on the streets of San Sebastian and Madrid. He died in the city of his birth in 1993.
Juan Vicente Aliaga