Italo Sunsets draws its inspiration from Italo-Disco, the mysterious, propulsive and energetic musical genre that became the black, throbbing heart of dance music in the early 1980s. Formed from the crucible of neon-lit, sweat-drenched basement clubs of Italy and the mediterranean, ‘Italo’ energised a generation of musicians and artists in the region before crossing the Atlantic to revitalise the faltering US disco scene, pioneer the then-embryonic electro and hip-hop subcultures, while also finding time to revolutionise film scores through the works of Italo masters Giorgio Moroder, Vangelis and Claudio Simonetti.
An immigrant artform, Italo’s visual component was soon forged in its connection to the sunny climes from whence it came, and the prosperous coastal United States where it was welcomed with open arms. Repackaged for a new place and time, sun-swept, smog- scorched sunsets quickly became a visual signifier for the genre, reminiscent of both its origin and its destination, its past and its present. The sunset image went hand-in-hand with the Italo sound as it spread from Milan to Miami, Livorno to Los Angeles, as a generation of European interlopers breathed new life into the new world.
Hugh Cooney’s Italo Sunsets are illustrated using basic paint programs and work with the inconsistencies of found printers. These images serve purely as an outlet for the artist in visualising this music through the haze of moody nostalgia Italo’s sounds evoke and represent.
Italo Sunsets will be opening at Radio London, Hair Salon and Gallery, Redchurch Street, Shoreditch on Thursday the 6th of Now 2014