Ibiza’s hedonistic history: New exhibition documents the outrageous club culture of the Eighties

Ibiza has long been Europe’s ‘pleasure island’. The island has a history of hedonism. It was a haven for liberal and alternative Spaniards during Franco’s rule. In the Seventies, it was a key point on the hippy trail. In the Eighties, package holidays, the yacht set and the clubbers arrived.These photographs, which form part of an ICA exhibition, Ibiza, Moments in Love, were taken by British photographer Derek Ridgers at club Ku in 1984.


The pictures capture the outrageous club culture that, a couple of years later, entranced four UK DJs including Danny Rampling and Paul Oakenfold.They were so inspired that on their return to London they launched the club nights Shoom and Spectrum, created acid house and kickstarted the UK dance music industry.


Ibiza in the early 1980s was home to three of the most important nightclubs in the world: Ku was the world’s largest outdoor discotheque, built around an Olympic sized swimming pool. Amnesia was the late night/early morning club where DJ Alfredo played Beethoven, Kate Bush and whatever he liked until the sun came up. Pacha was the local discotheque that became a global superbrand.Ibiza-Moments-in-Love-at-Institute-of-Contemporany-ArtIbiza moments in loveScreen-Shot-2013-09-27-at-09.38.24Screen-Shot-2013-09-27-at-09.41.12Yves-Uro-cartel-KU-80sCartel-promocional-Ku-

The ICA exhibition also highlights the work of two visual artists; freehand illustrator and graphic artist Yves Uro, the man behind hundreds of posters for Ku.The second is Armin Heinemann, the owner of Paula’s Ibiza, a maverick fashion boutique based on the island – as you can see from these images, style was a major part of the clubbing experience.

Uro and Heinemann’s work was world class but created solely for local purposes and has rarely been exhibited before.Photographer Derek Ridgers is well known for his club/street culture work. He has documented influential British social scenes such as skinhead, fetish, club, punk and the New Romantics.

He has also snapped everyone from James Brown to The Spice Girls, from Clint Eastwood to Johnny Depp, as well as Tony Blair, gangster ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser, artist Julian Schnabel, writer Martin Amis, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.


2 thoughts

  1. Hi Steve. Thanks for stopping by. Im friends with the Ku Best Years Page on my personal facebook page. Great site and we enjoy the pre Ku acid house scene pics as well as the music.. . Seems if you were a celeb in the mid eighties you had to party at Ku ! Ill check your site out.. All the best.. thecoolhunger.


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