FOOTSTEPS FROM THE HIPPIE TRAIL TO THE SANDY BEACHES OF IBIZA
Few places in space and time have been as fantastical and inspiring than Ibiza in the early 1980s. The island 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.
Ibiza had long been an island of freedom. It was a haven for liberal and alternative Spaniards during Franco's rule. In the early seventies it was a key point on a global hippie trail. Ibiza was Europe's most treasured ‘pleasure island.'
Long before the ecstasy fueled house heads claimed Ibiza as theirs it was the stomping ground of beautiful Europeans dancing around in open-air clubs and home to superclub KU. In 1978, three young Basques, Jose Luis Anabitarte (Gorri), Javier Iturrioz and Jose Antonio Santamaria landed on the island of Ibiza and acquired a rustic garden known as "Club San Rafael". The garden was renamed KU, after their existing discotheque in San Sebastian.
KU is the Hawaiian god of prosperity and war. A bloodthirsty yet generous and benevolent God who teaches that all human beings are children of the same origin. Only through a life in love of land and nature, he grants peace, prosperity, health and abundance. This was the symbol of KU Disco.
Gorri, along with his creative team of "Magic Masters", not least Brasilio (Coco Loco Bar / Parties), Faruk (Bar Privé / Parties), Pino (live concerts), Tirso (decoration and lighting) and Yves Uro (poster artist), soon discover that a legend was born.
During the early 1980s, the innovative parties, competitions and live groups gained momentum and flair. This unique gathering of free spirits was fueled by the "Balearic Beat" (a mix from all directions with an emphasis on electro pop / techno / new wave genre) that played until sunrise. By the mid-1980s, where it was previously a laid back hangout for hippies, the 80’s saw it become a renowned dance destination attended by the likes of Freddie Mercury, Grace Jones and Jean Paul Gaultier.
The 1980's in KU were a time of creativity, innocence and freedom. Under moon and stars all elements were united. People from all walks of life gathered in this utopia to welcome the new age in human evolution.
The KU grew exponentially and was named the world's most prestigious nightclub by the Press and then the world's largest nightclub by the Guinness Book of World Records.
The generosity of the KU people, who worked with open hearts to create this ecstatic atmosphere, caused them their own demise. The original "KU feeling" soon had to give way to enterprising opportunists. Even with the introduction of the law, which banned open-air discos and the invasion of the island by overseas promoters who brought in mainstream music, magic faded, leaving behind a disillusioned and now homeless generation.
Yves Uro was indisputably the most important artist ever to interpret the label KU, and probably the most relevant poster artist ever to grace the pine island with his talent. Yves was born in Paris in 1954. His interest in graphic art led him to study at the Beaux Arts in Metz, France. In 1976, his destiny took him to Ibiza where a fantastic coexistence of ancient culture and unabashed liberty and imagination were flourishing. Yves began his collaboration with the KU disco in 1978, launching a more than 10 year run as illustrator of KU's dream-like fantasy universe, helping it roll relentlessly towards the future.
Modern iconic characters emerged, enlivened by bold, almost metallic colors that captured the essence of the 1980's in Ibiza. He exposed and demystified ethereal scenarios with extreme clarity, humor, cynicism and electricity. His captivating personification of emotions and ideas played a key role in luring an intelligent and discerning crowd to the KU. His work was a prelude in perfect harmony with the ecstasy, agony, sensuality and freedom that one could experience in the KU. Yves Uro died in Paris at 40 years old, leaving behind a unique collection of paintings, drawings and collages that vividly illustrate his distinctive ingenuity.