“H. R. Giger in Rock”
“You get talent when you discover the ground of your pain”. H. R. Giger
Hans Rudolf “Ruedi” Giger (/ˈɡiːɡər/; 5 February 1940 – 12 May 2014) was a Swiss surrealist painter, sculptor and set designer
Giger was born in 1940 in Chur, capital city of Graubünden, the largest and easternmost Swiss canton.
“When I was a young boy, I was obsessed with skulls and mummies and things like that”. H. R. Giger
Giger suffered from night terrors and his paintings are all to some extent inspired by his experiences with that particular sleep disorder. He studied interior and industrial design at the School of Commercial Art in Zurich (from 1962 to 1965) and made his first paintings as a means of art therapy.
“You know I was curious – I was interested in all kinds of mystery or deeper meanings in the paintings because I myself have not analyzed why they have turned out like this or like that”. H. R. Giger
Giger started with small ink drawings before progressing to oil paintings. For most of his career, Giger had worked predominantly in airbrush, creating monochromatic canvasses depicting surreal, nightmarish dreamscapes. However, he then largely abandoned large airbrush works in favor of works with pastels, markers or ink.
Giger’s most distinctive stylistic innovation was that of a representation of human bodies and machines in a cold, interconnected relationship, he described as “biomechanical”.
His main influences were painters Ernst Fuchs and Salvador Dalí. He met Salvador Dalí, to whom he was introduced by painter Robert Venosa. He was also a personal friend of Timothy Leary.
“Some people say my work is often depressing and pessimistic, with the emphasis on death, blood, overcrowding, strange beings and so on, but I don’t really think it is”. H. R. Giger
His design for the Alien was inspired by his painting Necronom IV and earned him an Oscar in 1980.
His books of paintings, particularly Necronomicon and Necronomicon II (1985) and the frequent appearance of his art in Omni magazine continued his rise to international prominence.
Dune (designs for unproduced Alejandro Jodorowsky adaptation of the Frank Herbert novel; the movie Dune was later made in an adaptation by David Lynch.)
Alien (designed, among other things, the Alien creature, “The Derelict” and the “Space Jockey”)
Alien 3 (designed the dog-like Alien bodyshape, plus a number of unused concepts, many mentioned on the special features disc of Alien 3)
Poltergeist II: The Other Side
Species (designed Sil, and the Ghost Train in a dream sequence)
Batman Forever (designed radically different envisioning of the Batmobile; design was not used in the film)
Future-Kill (designed artwork for the movie poster)
Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis (creature designs)
Prometheus (the film includes “The Derelict” spacecraft and the “Space Jockey” designs from the first Alien film, as well as a “Temple” design from the failed Jodorowsky Dune project and original extraterrestrial murals created exclusively for Prometheus, based in conceptual art from Alien. Unlike Alien: Resurrection, the Prometheus film credited H. R. Giger with the original designs).
“I like elegance. I like art nouveau; a stretched line or curve. These things are very much in the foreground of my work”. H. R. Giger
Giger is also well known for artwork on several music recording albums.
Celtic Frost: To Mega Therion
Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Brain Salad Surgery (1973)
Steve Stevens‘ Atomic Playboys
Mylène Farmer: Mylenium Tour (1999, sculpture of Isis on stage)
Deborah Harry, portraits for KooKoo album cover and videos “Backfired” and “Now I Know You Know” (1981)
hide: Hide Your Face
Danzig: Danzig III: How the Gods Kill
Dead Kennedys‘ album Frankenchrist, Poster insert of Landscape XX (which led to an obscenity trial)
Atrocity – Hallucinations
Black Sun Productions
Korn’s Jonathan Davis commissioned Giger to design and sculpt a microphone stand, with the requirement that it be biomechanical, erotic, and movable. The contract allowed for five aluminium microphone stands to be made, but Davis purchased only two of the three to which he was entitled. The design of the microphone stand was later adapted to Giger’s “Nubian Queen”, transforming it into a fine art sculpture.
Triptykon: Melana Chasmata
Giger helped to design the first professional video clip of “Böhse Onkelz” called “Dunkler Ort” (dark location) from their album “Ein böses Märchen … aus tausend finsteren Nächten”, which was released in 2000.