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H. R. Giger (1940 - )

"Hommage à Böcklin" de R. Giger, Acrylique de 1977, image sourced here.


Hans Ruedi Giger (pronounced: GEE-ger) (born at Chur, Grisons canton, February 5, 1940) is a Swiss painter best known for his design work on the film Alien. Giger's Alien design, inspired by his painting "Necronom V", earned him an Oscar in 1980. His fourth published book of paintings, titled Necronomicon (followed by Necronomicon II in 1985), continued his rise to international prominence, as did the frequent appearance of his art in the magazine Omni. Giger is also well known for artwork on a number of popular records, including Emerson Lake and Palmer's Brain Salad Surgery and Debbie Harry's KooKoo. His artwork for the Dead Kennedys' album Frankenchrist was at the center of an obscenity lawsuit against Jello Biafra.

For most of his career, Giger has worked predominantly in airbrush, creating strange monochromatic canvasses depicting surreal, nightmarish landscapes. His most distinctive stylistic innovation is that of biomechanics, a representation of human bodies and machines in a cold, interconnected relationship. His paintings often display fetishistic sexual imagery and are considered disturbing by some. Some of his paintings also feature Satanic imagery, though Giger himself is not known to be a Satanist. He is largely inspired by Salvador Dalí and was a personal friend of Timothy Leary.

He has also created furniture designs, particularly the Harkonnen Capo Chair for an unproduced movie version of the novel Dune that was originally slated to be directed by Alejandro Jodorowski (many years later David Lynch directed the film, using none of Giger's designs). Giger has also applied his biomechanical style to interior design, and several "Giger Bars" sprung up in Tokyo, New York, and his native Switzerland, although the foreign bars have since closed. His art has greatly influenced tattooists and fetishists worldwide.

H.R. Giger has produced concept art for:

Pop culture references
Novelist William Gibson referred to Giger in his book Virtual Light, in which a minor character has a tattoo of one of the New York paintings. As well, in his novel Idoru, the nanotech buildings are Giger-esque. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._R._Giger [Mar 2005]


Swiss painter who began with dark, detailed, mechanical works in "underground" publications, and attracted wide attention beginning in the '70s. He designed the visuals for the movie Alien and several others, plus many album covers. His work is often morbid, monstrous, filled with grotesque biomechanoids and occult imagery -- a merger of sadomasochism, science-fiction and Lovecraftian lore.


  1. H.R. Giger's Necronomicon - H. R. Giger [Amazon.com]
    H.R. Giger's work has, in my opinion, the distinction of being the most disturbing art embraced by the public since that of Hieronymous Bosch. Here is a great introduction (if you don't mind the price tag) to the work of such an artist.
    This book is not for the young or the easily disturbed. The world of Giger is quite intentionally the world of nightmares, with Freudian symbolism, decay, and perverse sexuality abounding. But there is also a beauty behind it all, in the metallic shine of his futuristic nymphs or the strange landscapes of endless babies' faces which make us realize the strangeness inherent in the everyday. Instead of using art to try and transcend reality, Giger pulls us down into the darkest parts of what we see around us, and refuses to let us go. In this way he shows us that perhaps that darkness is not so terrifying as it may seem, and he accustoms us to facing that in ourselves. Not only is such confrontation healthy, it may very well be essential, and Giger is a skilled tour guide when it comes to areas of the mind and psyche that not many artists have dared to explore.
    The second Necronomicon volume is a worthy companion to this one, but if you must have only one Giger book this is the one I recommend. Use this book to take yourself into hell...and then realize that you can come back out again. --Brooke Wilberg for amazon.com

  2. Biomannerism - H.R. Giger, Treville [Amazon.com]
    The erotic biomannerism movement is a creature of the cyberage, an expression of technophobia and fear of mutation. The seven artists represented here come from the U.S., France, Germany, Japan, and Switzerland, but they share a Kafkaesque view of the human condition, which they express in twisting, writhing, bulging, disintegrating images of the human form. Inspiration flows from Michelangelo, Dali, da Vinci, Rubens, and Duchamp, as well as Blade Runner, Frankenstein, and Intel.

    This volume includes a significant sampling of work from Swiss painter H. R. Giger, one of the first and most important explorers of the style. Through his creation of erotic cyborg women called biomechanoids, which consist of a synthesis of organic bodies and machines, he has pioneered the possibilities of a new aesthetic of erotic metamorphosis. His unique baroque man-machines are so grotesque and refined that they are labeled Gigeresque and are easily recognizable as a significant influence on artistic creativity at the close of the second millennium.

    Landmark monograph on the artists' works. Published in a very small and limited print run. A brilliant production: Oversize-volume format. Glossy pictorial integral softcovers, with large flaps. Afterword by Stephan Levy Kuentz. Without DJ, as issued. Showcases the most representative and finest of so-called "fetishism art/Erotic Biomannerism". Includes some of the finest and most repesentative work of nine artists closely identified with the movement: Daniel Ouellette, Michel Henricot, Sibylle Ruppert, Joe Hackbarth, Tsutomo Otsuka, Beksinski, Yoshifumi Hayashi, Jean-Marie Poumeyrol and the legendary H. R. Giger. Uses lithograph and comic strip techniques combined with accumulated discoveries in physiology, anatomy, biology, physics and electronics. Results in mutated, new human-like forms defined for cybernetics culture, futuristic art at its most fascinating and "cutting-edge" best. Regarded as one of the most important Art Movements of the late-20th century. This is an Import title, was not commercially distributed in the United States and is now out-of-print. It is very beautifully produced, as one has come to expect of a Japanese publisher. It has become increasingly difficult to find in fine condition.


  1. Alien (1979) - Ridley Scott [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    A landmark of science fiction and horror, Alien arrived in 1979 between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back as a stylishly malevolent alternative to George Lucas's space fantasy. Partially inspired by 1958's It! The Terror from Beyond Space, this instant classic set a tone of its own, offering richly detailed sets, ominous atmosphere, relentless suspense, and a flawless ensemble cast as the crew of the space freighter Nostromo, who fall prey to a vicious creature (designed by Swiss artist H.R. Giger) that had gestated inside one of the ill-fated crew members. In a star-making role, Sigourney Weaver excels as sole survivor Ripley, becoming the screen's most popular heroine in a lucrative movie franchise. To measure the film's success, one need only recall the many images that have been burned into our collective psyche, including the "facehugger," the "chestburster," and Ripley's climactic encounter with the full-grown monster. Impeccably directed by Ridley Scott, Alien is one of the cinema's most unforgettable nightmares. --Jeff Shannon for amazon.com

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