Monster Designer and artist H.R. Giger dies at 74

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H.R. Giger, Swiss surrealist artist who brought to life the alien from Aliens, died yesterday from injuries sustained during a fall.

Born Hans Giger in the city of Chur, Switzerland, his chemist father saw his art as a “breadless profession”. Despite his fathers protest Giger moved to Zurich to follow his passion and studied Architecture and Industrial design. Inspired by the likes of Salvador Dali, Giger created depictions of fetishistic machines entwined with humans using ink, marker and airbrush. His darkness on the canvas and in sculpture, while enticing his audience, were his way of coping with his own personal horrors. Giger suffered from a sleep disorder which caused him to suffer from night terrors. His first paintings were a way to work through what he saw when he lay down to sleep and throughout his life he kept a sketch pad beside his bed to exorcise his demons.

In 1979 he was a part of the stellar design team that took on the challenge of creating what would become his best known work, the Xenomorph in Aliens. Director Ridley Scott approached him about the project after seeing his 1977 book Necronomicon.

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Giger’s haunting art inspired musicians and artists alike (Image: H.R. Giger Museum)

Though she may have been a creature from his own nightmares, the design concepts won him an Oscar, and Giger went on to work in some capacity on virtually ever other Alien project and was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame (2013) for his work on the creature and the futuristic set design.

His dark and industrial designs spoke to many artists and was embraced by the punk, rock and gothic movements of the 80′s and 90′s Throughout his career he worked on projects for fans of his work, such a microphone stands, his own version of the Batmobile,and album art. The 1985 Dead Kennedys Album “Frankenchritst” contained some of his more fetishistic art, rows of copulating genitalia, and landed Kennedys front man Jello Biafra in jail for including the ” sexually explicit” art.

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Giger’s vision for the Batmobile and cave for Batman Forever (image:H.R. Giger, Submitted to Warner Brothers)

In 1998 Giger purchased the Château St. Germain, Gruyères Switzerland. A Gothic castle at the foot of the alps, it holds much of the last nearly 40 years of Giger’s work as the home of H.R Giger Museum today. Spines arch through the cavernous rooms, dark combinations of humans and machine, and all the darkness that Giger pulled form his mind for his patrons and fans to enjoy fill the stone halls. In the video below Giger expresses his love for his work.

For those not able to visit the museum in Switzerland, many of Giger’s pieces tour art galleries around the world. His work will live on  in those pieces he has created and that which he inspired. We hope his sleep is restful.

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