With names like Cesar Palace, Divina, and Final Empire, there was no question as to what these colossal dance meccas strived for: Eternal lavish disco indulgence. It doesn’t take much imagination to picture these venues at their prime filled with stylish Italians getting down on smoky dance floors to Italo-disco vibes.
Over the decades, though, the nation that gave us Miko Mission and Giorgio Moroder began to move away from the extravagance of the 80s and allowed these glittering tributes to the genre that inspired house music to die. Italian photographer Antonio La Grotta’s series Paradise Discotheque tells the story of their ruin:
“Discotheques, the symbol of 80s and 90s hedonism, were fake marble temples adorned with Greek statues made of gypsum, futuristic spaces of gigantic size, large enough to contain the dreams of success, money, fun of thousands people.”
“And then the dreams are gone, people disappeared and nightclubs became abandoned wrecks, cement whales laid on large empty squares, places inhabited by echo and melancholy.”
“The grass is growing in the cracks, the Discobolus is hiding under a porch, priggish Venus lurks behind the bars.”
“The Paradise Discotheque, contemporary monuments of our civilization, are waiting to be burned to the ground, and in this expectation made of vacuum, only the memory of a former glory remains.”
All photos © 2014 | Antonio La Grotta
Antonio La Grotta (Torino, 1971) is an Italian photographer. He graduated at IED (European Desing Institute) where he now teaches “Reportage and Events Photography.” He is a freelance photographer who owns and runs NOPX, a contemporary art gallery.