Hans Ruedi Giger (/ˈɡiːɡər/ GHEE-gər; German: [ˈɡiːɡər]; 5 February 1940 – 12 May 2014) was a Swiss painter, best known for airbrush images of humans and machines linked together in a cold biomechanical relationship. Later he abandoned airbrush work for pastels, markers, and ink. He was part of the special effects team that won an Academy Award for design work on the film Alien. In Switzerland there are two theme bars that reflect his interior designs, and his work is on permanent display at the H.R. Giger Museum at Gruyères. His style has been adapted to many forms of media, including record album covers, furniture, and tattoos.
H. R. Giger
Giger in 2012
Hans Ruedi Giger
5 February 1940
|Died||12 May 2014 (aged 74)|
|Cause of death||Complications from falling|
|Occupation||Painter, sculptor, set designer, film director|
|Style||Science fiction, fantasy, occult, macabre|
|Spouse(s)||Mia Bonzanigo (1979–81; divorced)|
Carmen Maria Scheifele (2006–14; his death)
|Partner(s)||Li Tobler (1966–75)|
Giger was born in 1940 in Chur, the capital city of Graubünden, the largest and easternmost Swiss canton. His father, a pharmacist, viewed art as a "breadless profession" and strongly encouraged him to enter pharmacy. He moved to Zürich in 1962, where he studied architecture and industrial design at the School of Applied Arts until 1970.
Giger's first success was when H. H. Kunz, co-owner of Switzerland's first poster publishing company, printed and distributed Giger's first posters, beginning in 1969.
Giger's style and thematic execution were influential. He was part of the special effects team that won an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects for their design work on the film Alien. 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. Giger was admitted to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2013. He is also well known for artwork on several music recording albums including Danzig III: How The Gods Kill by Danzig, Brain Salad Surgery by Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Deborah Harry's KooKoo.
Giger had a relationship with Swiss actress Li Tobler until she committed suicide in 1975. Li's image appears in many of his paintings. He married Mia Bonzanigo in 1979; they divorced a year and a half later.
The artist lived and worked in Zürich with his second wife, Carmen Maria Scheifele Giger, who is the Director of the H.R. Giger Museum.
In addition to his awards, Giger was recognized by a variety of festivals and institutions. On the one year anniversary of his death, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City staged the series The Unseen Cinema of HR Giger in May 2015.
On 11 July 2018, the asteroid 109712 Giger was named in his memory.
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. He also worked with pastels, markers and 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 Dado, Ernst Fuchs and Salvador Dalí. He met Salvador Dalí, to whom he was introduced by painter Robert Venosa. Giger was also influenced by the work of the sculptor Stanislas Szukalski, and by the painters Austin Osman Spare and Mati Klarwein. He was also a personal friend of Timothy Leary. Giger 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.
Giger directed a number of films, including Swiss Made (1968), Tagtraum (1973), Giger's Necronomicon (1975) and Giger's Alien (1979).
Giger created furniture designs, particularly the Harkonnen Capo Chair for a film of the novel Dune that was to be directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Many years later, David Lynch directed the film, using only rough concepts by Giger. Giger had wished to work with Lynch, as he stated in one of his books that Lynch's film Eraserhead was closer than even Giger's own films to realizing his vision.
Giger applied his biomechanical style to interior design. One "Giger Bar" appeared in Tokyo, but the realization of his designs was a great disappointment to him, since the Japanese organization behind the venture did not wait for his final designs, and instead used Giger's rough preliminary sketches. For that reason Giger disowned the Tokyo bar. The two Giger Bars in his native Switzerland, in Gruyères and Chur, were built under Giger's close supervision and they accurately reflect his original concepts. At The Limelight in Manhattan, Giger's artwork was licensed to decorate the VIP room, the uppermost chapel of the landmarked church, but it was never intended to be a permanent installation and bore no similarity to the bars in Switzerland. The arrangement was terminated after two years when the Limelight closed.
Giger's art has greatly influenced tattooists and fetishists worldwide. Under a licensing deal Ibanez guitars released an H. R. Giger signature series: the Ibanez ICHRG2, an Ibanez Iceman, features "NY City VI", the Ibanez RGTHRG1 has "NY City XI" printed on it, the S Series SHRG1Z has a metal-coated engraving of "Biomechanical Matrix" on it, and a 4-string SRX bass, SRXHRG1, has "N.Y. City X" on it.
Giger is often referred to in popular culture, especially in science fiction and cyberpunk. William Gibson (who wrote an early script for Alien 3) seems particularly fascinated: A minor character in Virtual Light, Lowell, is described as having New York XXIV tattooed across his back, and in Idoru a secondary character, Yamazaki, describes the buildings of nanotech Japan as Giger-esque.
Atomic Playboys is the first studio album by guitarist Steve Stevens, released in 1989 through Warner Bros. Records; a remastered edition containing two bonus tracks was reissued on August 5, 2013 through Rock Candy Records. The album reached No. 119 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. The cover art was done by surrealist artist H.R. Giger, who designed the Xenomorph creature in the Alien film series.
Atomic Playboys was also the name of Stevens' band at the time, which was only meant to be a one-album effort upon him being signed to Warner Bros. In a 2001 interview, when asked about the possibly of reforming the group, Stevens replied: "Absolutely not. That group was a very expensive hobby".Attahk
Attahk is the seventh studio album by Magma, released in 1978.
After Üdü Ẁüdü, Magma disbanded for a year until reuniting under a slightly different direction than before. This album incorporates elements of funk, R&B, gospel, and pop music.Some songs on this album – such as "Rindë" - as well as some from Live/Hhaï (1975) and Üdü Ẁüdü (1976) – are incorporated in Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré.Dark Seed (video game)
Dark Seed is a psychological horror point-and-click adventure game developed and published by Cyberdreams in 1992. It exhibits a normal world and a dark world counterpart, which is based on the artwork by H. R. Giger. It was one of the first point-and-click adventure games to use high-resolution (640 × 350 pixels) graphics, to Giger's demand. A sequel, Dark Seed II, was released in 1995.Dark Seed II
Dark Seed II is a psychological horror point-and-click adventure game developed and published by Cyberdreams in 1995, and is the sequel to the 1992 game Dark Seed. It sees recurring protagonist Mike Dawson's continued adventures in the H.R. Giger artwork-based "Dark World." Designed and written by future James Bond novelist Raymond Benson, the game was released for Microsoft Windows 3.x, Macintosh, Sega Saturn, and Sony PlayStation. As was the case with Dark Seed, console versions of Dark Seed II were released only in Japan, though they were additionally fully dubbed in Japanese. Unlike the original game, the Saturn version of Dark Seed II does not support the shuttle mouse.Eparistera Daimones
Eparistera Daimones is the debut album by Swiss extreme metal band Triptykon, the most recent musical project of Thomas Gabriel Fischer, founding member of the pioneering heavy metal bands Hellhammer and Celtic Frost and industrial project Apollyon Sun.
The album was released by Prowling Death Records Ltd., under a licensing agreement with Century Media Records on March 22, 2010, and was released by Victor Entertainment Japan on April 21, 2010 with a bonus track, "Shatter".
Upon its release, Eparistera Daimones was met with universal acclaim by both music critics and band fans.
Eparistera Daimones was produced by Tom Gabriel Warrior and Triptykon guitarist V. Santura and recorded in V. Santura's own Woodshed Studio in southern Germany, in the course of the second half of 2009. Like Celtic Frost's Monotheist album, Eparistera Daimones was mastered by Walter Schmid at Oakland Recording in Winterthur, Switzerland.
The album features artwork by H. R. Giger and Vincent Castiglia.
The title of album is originally from Aleister Crowley's Liber XXV: The Star Ruby ritual. Eparistera Daimones (ΕΠΑΡΙΣΤΕΡΑ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΕΣ) in Greek means On my left hand the Daemones or To my left, the demons."Myopic Empire" comes from "Relinquished Body", a demo track from Celtic Frost's 2002 demo album "Prototype".Frankenchrist
Frankenchrist is the third album released by the American hardcore punk band Dead Kennedys in 1985 on Alternative Tentacles.
The album is an example of the progressive, psychedelic side of Dead Kennedys' musical personality. The spaghetti western soundtrack influence is also noticeable in the horn parts and in East Bay Ray's atmospheric guitar work. Frankenchrist is noted for its relative lack of traditionally 'hardcore' material. Most of the songs are slower and longer than the majority of other Dead Kennedys songs. "M.T.V. − Get off the Air" is notable for its pointed slam of the music establishment and "Stars and Stripes of Corruption" for its exegesis of vocalist Jello Biafra's political philosophies.Giger Bar
A Giger Bar is a bar themed and modelled by the Swiss artist H. R. Giger. There are two Giger Bars: the first, the H.R. Giger Bar in Chur, Switzerland, which opened in 1992, and the second is The Museum HR Giger Bar, located in Château St. Germain, Gruyères, Switzerland, which opened on April 12, 2003.
A third Giger bar was located in Shirokanedai, Tokyo in the late 1980s. Giger dissolved his involvement with this location after facing frustrations with Japanese building codes and with the Japanese company behind the bar, which created the bar after only rough preliminary sketches. Giger had wanted private booths that functioned as individual elevators which traveled up and down the interior four stories of the design. This design was problematic given restrictions caused by earthquake resistant engineering. Giger disowned the Tokyo Giger Bar and never set foot inside. Within a few years, the establishment was out of business.
The interior of the bars are themed along the lines of his biomechanical style as shown in the Alien films. The roof, walls, fittings and chairs are all modelled by the artist and fit into the same designs as seen in the films he designed, notably "Alien". The prominent high-backed Harkonnen Chair design was originally intended as a Harkonnen throne for an abandoned Dune film project.
In 2013, the founder of the Sci-Fi Hotel chain, Andy Davies, partnered with artist Giger to establish the Giger Bar brand in the United States as part of the company's development plans.Hallucinations (Atrocity album)
Hallucinations is the debut album by the German death metal band Atrocity. It was released in 1990 by Roadrunner Records and was produced by Scott Burns. This is a concept album which follows the story of a young girl who is sexually abused as a child, and her descent into drug abuse and eventual death.
The album was reissued in 1997 with the Blue Blood EP.Heartwork
Heartwork is the fourth album by British extreme metal band Carcass, and has been described as the band's "breakthrough" and "mid-period masterpiece" ,as well as a landmark album in the melodic death metal genre. It was released through Earache Records on 18 October 1993. The album was recorded at Parr Street Studios, Liverpool from 18 May – 21 June 1993.
The sculpture depicted in the cover art, "Life Support 1993," was designed by H.R. Giger, and is an update of a sculpture he created in the late 1960s. The video for the song "Heartwork" features a real-life interpretation of the sculpture, including a human welded as a part of it. The album was reissued as a Dualdisc on 2 June 2008.
Michael Amott left the band after the recording of the album before founding Spiritual Beggars, and was temporarily replaced by Mike Hickey. In The Pathologist's Report, Bill Steer says Heartwork is his favourite Carcass album.The band Carnal Forge named themselves after the song of the same name from this album.Hide Your Face
Hide Your Face is the debut album by Japanese musician hide, released on February 23, 1994. It reached number 9 on the Oricon chart and was certified Platinum by the RIAJ for sales over 400,000 copies. It was named one of the top albums from 1989-1998 in a 2004 issue of the music magazine Band Yarouze.KooKoo
KooKoo is the debut solo album by American rock singer and actress Debbie Harry, released in 1981 on Chrysalis Records.Li Tobler
Li Tobler (30 November 1947 – 19 May 1975) was a Swiss stage actress and model for the artist H. R. Giger. Two of his major paintings were portraits of Li, and her face can also be recognised in some of his semi-abstract subjects where man and machine are fused into one.
Li lived with Giger in squalor, often inside condemned buildings, eventually becoming romantically involved. Although their relationship was open, it remained deeply intense and creatively inspiring to Giger. But Li suffered from emotional insecurity, heavy drug-dependence and physical exhaustion from theatrical tours. She committed suicide (by gunshot to the head) at age 27 as a result of constant depression. According to Giger, she had wished her life to be "short and intense".Melana Chasmata
Melana Chasmata is the second full-length album by Swiss extreme metal band Triptykon, released through Prowling Death Records/Century Media Records on 14 April 2014 in Europe and on 15 April 2014 in North America. The album was officially announced on 22 October 2013 by the band's frontman, Thomas Gabriel Fischer (a.k.a. "Tom Warrior"), on his official blog.The title is in Greek (Μελανά Χάσματα) and, according to Fischer, it can be roughly translated as "black, deep depressions/valleys" — or, more literally, "chasms as [black as] ink".
The album's artwork was provided by famous Surrealist painter H. R. Giger. It is the third time in his career he has collaborated with Thomas Fischer; Giger also provided artwork for Fischer's former band Celtic Frost's first full-length, To Mega Therion, in 1985, and to Triptykon's debut Eparistera Daimones in 2010. It was Giger's last album cover before his death, just one week before the album's release.
A music video for the track "Aurorae" was released on 7 August 2014. Another video, to "Tree of Suffocating Souls", was released on 17 November 2014. Song In The Sleep of Death is referring to Emily Brontë as about a lost love.Mylenium Tour
Mylènium Tour is the third live album by Mylène Farmer, released on 5 December 2000.Necronomicon (H. R. Giger)
Necronomicon was the first major published compendium of images by Swiss artist H. R. Giger. Originally published in 1977, the book was given to director Ridley Scott during the pre-production of the film Alien, who then hired Giger to produce artwork and conceptual designs for the film.
The book was originally published by Sphinx Verlag and was republished in 1993 by Morpheus International with additional artwork from Giger's Alien designs. A subsequent collection of his images followed as H. R. Giger’s Necronomicon 2, printed in 1985 by Edition C of Switzerland.
Giger's Necronomicon is named for H. P. Lovecraft's Necronomicon, a fictional grimoire Lovecraft invented and used as a plot device in his stories. Lovecraft's Necronomicon was a compendium of pre-human lore compiled by the fictional mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, circa 700.Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival
The Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) is a Swiss film festival dedicated to fantastic movies. It was created in 2000 and is now renowned internationally as one of the foremost film festivals in the world for genre cinema. The NIFFF defines itself through a rich and diversified programming, constructed around three central axes: Fantastic cinema, Asian cinema and Digital images. The films shown at the Festival are very diversified, ranging from major works by renowned directors to unknown and underground films d'auteurs. Famous fantastic film directors have already honored the NIFFF with their presences, including George A. Romero, Joe Dante, John Landis, Terry Gilliam, Hideo Nakata.
The NIFFF offers five competitions: an international competition, an Asian competition, a Best Swiss Short Film Competition, a Best European Short Film Competition and a Swiss Video Art Competition entitled Actual Fears and inaugurated in 2008.
Since its creation, the NIFFF has been programmed each year during the first week of July, except in 2001. In 2008, the NIFFF celebrates its eighth edition and counts amongst the major cinematographic events in Switzerland, supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture.Penis Landscape
Penis Landscape, or Work 219: Landscape XX, is a painting by H. R. Giger. Created in 1973, airbrushed acrylic on paper-covered wood, it measures 70 by 100 centimetres (28 by 39 in). It depicts a number of penises entering vaginas, arranged in an alternating pattern. One is wearing a condom. It came to a greater level of attention during the trial of vocalist Jello Biafra after his band the Dead Kennedys featured it as a poster included with their 1985 album Frankenchrist.
The choice of the painting came as the result of a comment by Jello Biafra to his then roommate Dead Kennedy's artist, Jayed Scotti, art partners with Winston Smith. Biafra showed Scotti a copy of Omni magazine showing several works of art by Giger, including "Penis Landscape", printed in 1977, for a Paris art collection. Biafra said he wanted to use the piece on the upcoming album cover. Scotti phoned New York agent Les Barany and explained the project. Barany contacted Giger to ask permission, then contacted Mike Bonanno of Alternative Tentacles Records; Giger agreed to let the label use a reproduction chrome of the artwork for $600, half the usual price. Biafra presented the idea to the other members of the band, but the idea was rejected as the album cover and as an interior gatefold double LP album. Finally it was accepted as an inserted poster.
Jayed Scotti created the production mechanicals by hand for the poster. The poster was printed and inserted in the Frankenchrist album with an additional sticker on the outside shrinkwrap, warning buyers of the contents. The resulting trial for obscenity nearly drove the Alternative Tentacles label into bankruptcy.Saint-Germain Castle
Saint-Germain Castle is a castle in the municipality of Gruyères of the Canton of Fribourg in Switzerland. It is a Swiss heritage site of national significance.In 1998 Swiss surrealist painter, sculptor and set designer H. R. Giger acquired the Château St. Germain, and it now houses the H. R. Giger Museum, a permanent repository of his work. His wife, Carmen Maria Scheifele Giger, is the Director of the H.R. Giger Museum.To Mega Therion (album)
To Mega Therion (meaning the great beast in Greek) is the second studio album by Swiss extreme metal band Celtic Frost, released on 27 October 1985 by Noise Records. The cover artwork is a painting by H. R. Giger entitled Satan I. The album was a major influence on the then-developing death metal and black metal genres.