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H. R. Giger

Hans Ruedi Giger (born at Chur, Grisons Canton, February 5, 1940) is an Academy Award-winning Swiss painter, sculptor, and set designer best known for his design work on the film Alien.

Work

Giger's unique style and thematic execution is frequently imitated in modern art practice. His design for the Alien was inspired by his painting Necronom IV and earned him an Oscar in 1980. His third 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.

Style

Giger got his start with small ink drawings before progressing to oil paintings. For most of his career, Giger has worked predominantly in airbrush, creating monochromatic canvasses depicting surreal, nightmarish dream-scapes. He has largely abandoned large airbrush works in favor of works with pastels, markers or ink. His most distinctive stylistic innovation is that of a representation of human bodies and machines in a cold, interconnected relationship, described as "biomechanical". His paintings often display fetishistic sexual imagery. 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. Giger is perhaps the best-known sufferer of night terrors and his paintings are all to some extent inspired by his experiences with that particular sleep disorder. He was originally educated as an architect and made his first paintings as a way of art therapy.

Documentary

In 2007, Giger and his work were subjects of a 19-minute documentary which toured internationally. The documentary explores the H.R. Giger Museum & Giger Bar at Chateau St. Germain (Gruyeres, Switzerland), and was released on DVD in May of 2008.

Obscenity lawsuit

Copies of Giger's Work 219: Landscape XX, better known as Penis Landscape, were included in an insert with the Dead Kennedys album Frankenchrist, and became the centerpiece of a 1986 obscenity lawsuit against Eric Reed Boucher, a.k.a. Jello Biafra, the vocalist and songwriter for the San Francisco punk rock band.

Other works

Giger has 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 only extremely limited rough ideas from Giger. Giger had wished to work with Lynch, as he had said that Lynch's film Eraserhead was the closest thing to portraying Giger's art in film (even including the films that Giger himself had worked on), as cited in one of Giger's Necronomicon books.

Giger has applied his biomechanical style to interior design, and several "Giger Bars" sprang up in Tokyo, New York, and his native Switzerland, although most of the bars have since closed. One such example was The Limelight in Manhattan, circa 1993 -- at the time, its bars featured faux embryos in jars, floating in a backlit pinkish fluid. His art has greatly influenced tattooists and fetishists worldwide. Ibanez guitars has released an H.R. Giger signature series; the Ibanez ICHRG2, an Ibanez Iceman, features the work "NY City VI", the Ibanez RGTHRG1 has the work "NY City XI" printed on it, and the S Series SHRG1Z has a metal coated engraving of the work "Biomechanical Matrix" on it. There is also a 4 string SRX bass; SRXHRG1, that has "N.Y. City X" printed on it.

Pop culture

Giger is often referred to in pop culture and especially in works of the science fiction and cyberpunk genres. Novelist William Gibson (who wrote an early script for Alien³) seems particularly fascinated, presenting in Virtual Light a minor character, Lowell, with New York XXIV tattooed across his back and a secondary character, Yamazaki in Idoru specifically describes the buildings of nanotech Japan as Giger-esque.

Movies

Work for recording artists

Interior decoration

Computer games

References

External links

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