Monday, May 25, 2020

H.R. Giger - 1940/2014

Born in 1940 in Chur, Canton Grisons, Switzerland. In 1966 he began working as an interior designer. From 1968 Giger devoted himself exclusively to art and his first works were published around 1969, also participating in the artistic part of some short film, such as Swissmade - 2068 (directed by Fredi M. Murer, 1968) or Passagen (also by Murer, 1972). During that time he maintained a relationship with the artist Li Tobler, with whom he would record several short films. His partner's suicide in 1975 forever marked Giger's work. He married Mia Bonzanigo in 1979, separating from it a year and a half later.

 Designer in the cinema

Giger entered the cinema at the hands of Alejandro Jodorowsky, who was recommended by Salvador Dalí in Cadaqués in 1973, for the Dune project (1973-1977), in which he was also, along with Jodorowsky and Moebius, the screenwriter and designer Dan O'Bannon, who was the one who brought Giger into the Alien project in early 1978.2

Since then, 1979, Giger has been known to the general public for designing and developing, together with Carlo Rambaldi, the creature and some scenes from the film Alien, the eighth passenger, by Ridley Scott (1979, based on his own previous pictorial works, like "Necronom IV"). For this work he won the Oscar for best stage design in 1980.

In the cinematographic field he was also in charge of the design of the dark side of Poltergeist II (Brian Gibson, 1986), although he was quite disappointed in the treatment given to his designs in the film.3 He later collaborated secondarily and after volunteering, in the designs of Alien 3 (David Fincher, 1992), since James Cameron had already rejected his participation for the designs of Aliens, the return (1986). He also participated in the graphic design of other films, such as Species (Roger Donaldson, 1995), these works being used on the covers of many books and records. Giger also designed the graphic part of video games such as Dark Seed (1992) and Dark Seed II (1995), graphic adventures with a Lovecraftian setting.

There is a museum dedicated to H. R. Giger in the city of Gruyères, in the canton of Friborg, Switzerland, opened in 1998, with many of his works as well as his private art collection, which includes works by Salvador Dalí.4

His most recent film work was in the film Prometheus, released in 2012. Its director Ridley Scott relied on Giger to design the murals that appear as some of the first alien world artifacts in the film.5

He was invited to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2013.6 7 The Swiss artist died on May 12, 2014, as a result of injuries caused by a fall, according to press reports.4 He was a personal friend of the American psychologist Timothy Leary.


Giger mostly used the airbrush to create surreal images and nightmare landscapes. Also noteworthy is his mix of representations of human bodies mixed with machines, described by him as Biomecanoids. These images contain a high degree of fetishism, while incorporating somewhat subliminal sexual symbols.

In Giger's work we can find the influence of artists with a fantastic, symbolic, expressionist or dreamlike tendency such as Johann Heinrich Füssli, Alfred Kubin, Bruno Schulz or surrealist artists such as Dado, 9 Ernst Fuchs, Jean Cocteau, Roland Topor or Salvador Dalí , among others.

Participation in films

    1979 - Alien, the eighth passenger (creature and stage design)
    1985 - Future-Kill (cover art)
    1985 - Design of the "Cloudbusting Machine" in Kate Bush's Cloudbusting video clip

    1986 - Poltergeist II (creature and stage design)
    1988 - Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis (creature and stage design)
    1992 - Alien III (various collaborations)
    1995 - Species (creature design)
    1996 - Kondom des Grauens (creative consultant)
    2012 - Prometheus10
 Participation in album covers

    1973 - Brain Salad Surgery of Emerson, Lake and Palmer
    1977 - Magma Attahk
    1981 - Debbie Harry's KooKoo (also directed the videos for "Backfired" and "Now I Know You Know")
    1985 - To Mega Therion by Celtic Frost
    1985 - Dead Kennedys Frankenchrist (the band was forced to change the cover, the play was titled Penis Landscape, 11 due to a legal problem of "distributing obscene material to minors").
    1989 - Steve Stevens Atomic Playboys
    1990 - Atrocity Hallucinations
    1992 - Black Aria from Danzig
    1992 - III: How The Gods Kill of Danzig
    1994 - Carcass Heartwork
    1994 - Hide Your Face by hide
    1999 - Somewhere in nowhere (Birthmachine) by Dr. Death
    2010 - Eparistera Daimones de Triptykon
    2014 - Melana Chasmata from Triptykon
1971 - ARh +
1974 - Passagen
1976 - HR Giger bei Sydow-Zirkwitz (catalog)
1977 - HR Giger's Necronomicon 1 (ISBN 3-85591-019-7)
1980 - Giger’s Alien (ISBN 3-89082-528-1)
1981 - HR Giger’s New York City
1984 - Retrospective 1964–1984 (catalog)
1985 - HR Giger's Necronomicon 2 (ISBN 3-85591-020-0)
1988 - HR Giger's Biomechanics (ISBN 978-3-89082-871-8)
1991 - HR Giger ARh + (ISBN 3-8228-1317-6)
1992 - Skizzen 1985
1993 - Watch Abart '93 (catalog)
1995 - Species Design
1996 - HR Giger's Filmdesign (ISBN 978-3-89082-583-0)
1996 - www HRGiger com
1996 - Visioni di fine millennio (catalog)
1998 - Monsters from the ID
1998 - The Mystery of San Gottardo
2002 - Icons „HR Giger“
2004 - Le Monde Selon HR Giger (catalog)
2005 - HR Giger in Prague (catalog)
2006 - Giger in Wien (catalog, ISBN 3-901247-15-7)
2007 - HR Giger: Sculpture, graphic and design (catalog)

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