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.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.
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.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).
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.
At first you’re just knocking over, like, cups and tables and band members and stuff, but then you start to play with the sliders.
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