RIP, H.R. Giger, 1940-2014

The famous Swiss surrealist leaves behind some of the twentieth century's most impressive and startling artwork. Here are our favorite biomechanical wonders.

MUSEUM, ALIEN, EROEFFNUNG, AUSSTELLUNG, SCHLOSS

H.R. Giger in 1979 wearing sunglasses he designed. (Keystone/Photopress)


H.R. Giger in 1979 wearing sunglasses he designed. (Keystone/Photopress)

Swiss public TV was first to report that surrealist science fiction illustrator H.R. Giger has died at 74. Giger created the designs for the Alien movies, the notorious poster included with the Dead Kennedys' Frankenchrist, and many other iconic works.

The 'Alien' developed by Giger for film.


The 'Alien' developed by Giger for film.

One of the most famous Giger images of all time: his cover for Emerson, Lake & Palmer's ‘Brain Salad Surgery’ (1973).


One of the most famous Giger images of all time: his cover for Emerson, Lake & Palmer's ‘Brain Salad Surgery’ (1973).

No. 250, Li I (detail) © H.R. Giger, Zurich.


No. 250, Li I (detail) © H.R. Giger, Zurich.

Giger’s so-called biomechanoids represent a large share of his work. His representations of these creatures is a mixture of human and mechanical parts, with a strong focus on sexuality that can be disturbing for the viewer. These biomechanoids are to be seen in many of Giger’s paintings and drawings, but the theme is also common to his sculptures and furniture.
Debbie Harry's first solo album, ‘KooKoo’ (1981).  Based on a photograph by Brian Aris. The London Underground refused to display posters promoting the album.


Debbie Harry's first solo album, ‘KooKoo’ (1981). Based on a photograph by Brian Aris. The London Underground refused to display posters promoting the album.

From Taschen's bio:
Born in Chur, Switzerland, in 1940, he studied interior and industrial design for eight years at the School of Commercial Art in Zurich (1962-1970), but was soon gaining attention as an independent artist, with endeavors ranging from surrealistic dream landscapes created with a spray gun and stencils, to album cover designs for famous pop stars, and sculpture. In addition, Giger’s multi-faceted career includes designing two bars, located in Tokyo and Chur, as well as work on various film projects - his creation of the set design and title figure for Ridley Scott’s film Alien won him not only international fame but also an Oscar for Best Achievement for Visual Effects (1980).

Giger's art for the Dead Kennedy's 'Frankenchrist,' for which lead singer Jello Biafra was sued for harming minors.


Giger's banned art for the Dead Kennedy's 'Frankenchrist,' for which lead singer Jello Biafra was sued for harming minors. The title of this work: Landscape #XX, or Penis Landscape.

From the Taschen book of Giger art


From the Taschen book of Giger art

Giger's cover art for  ‘Danzig III: How The Gods Kill’ (1992).


Giger's cover art for ‘Danzig III: How The Gods Kill’ (1992).

Concept art by Giger for 'Alien.'


Concept art by Giger for 'Alien.'

'Necronomicon IV,' by HR Giger (1976).


'Necronomicon IV,' by HR Giger (1976).

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The blog Letters of Note has a great piece of historical Giger-related correspondence by Alien director James Cameron worth revisiting today:

Considering the hugely positive reaction to his incredible, Oscar-winning work on the film's predecessor, it's little wonder that H. R. Giger was "disappointed" not to be contacted when production began on Aliens, the second installment in what is one of the most successful movie franchises in cinema's history. Indeed, Giger — the celebrated Swiss artist who most notably designed the beautifully horrific Alien itself in the late 1970s — vocalised his displeasure and, via his agent Leslie Barany, even wrote to the sequel's director, James Cameron. Three months later, Cameron explained his decision by way of the fascinating, remarkably honest letter seen below.

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(via Mefi)

Published 1:38 am Tue, May 13, 2014

About the Author

I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.

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