R.I.P. – The Death of H R Giger
H. R. Giger ( Hans Rudolf “Ruedi” Giger ) the infamous godfather of so much of today’s contemporary art and graphic styles, died Monday from injuries sustained in a fall. Sad news for so many artists and others who had their imaginations blown open by his truly original works. He single-handedly brought dark surrealist imagery into the foreground through his creatures and designs. Imposing monolithic skulls, nightmarish hallucinations, the slimy and terrifying Alien, twisted eroticism, epic science fiction and dystopian landscaped machine worlds – were all part of his forte.
I still remember the first time I saw Giger’s work – it was the cover of the record album, Brain Salad Surgery by the band Emerson, Lake and Palmer (top,above). It blew me away and I found myself pondering it for years to come. Giger’s most accessible claim to fame came with his character and set designs for the famous movie Alien; as well as many phantasmagorical visions used by the rock and roll world. His influence is consistently praised, over and over again, by most of the artists we have talked with over the years.
“Of the, approximately, 20 records on which my artwork has been seen over the last 30 years, very few were created, specifically, for album covers. The first one, ever, was for a band called Walpurgis in 1969, then Emerson Lake and Palmer’s “Brain Salad Surgery” in 1973, Debbie Harry’s “Koo Koo” in 1981 (above), and a series of “lip” paintings which I made for ELP in 1986, that the group, finally, used on a CD they released in the mid 1990s. The last cover I, actually, painted as a commission was Steve Stevens & the Atomic Playboys in 1989. All the others paintings, including the sculpture used for Carcass’ “Heartwork”, 1993, I made for myself, many years before, which the bands, later, licensed for their own use after seeing them in my books. “
- H. R. Giger
“Giger’s work disturbs us, spooks us, because of its enormous evolutionary time span. It shows us, all too clearly, where we come from and where we are going. ”
– friend, Timothy Leary
In 1998 Giger acquired the Château St. Germain, a 400-year-old building in Gruyères, Switzerland, and it now houses the H. R. Giger Museum, a permanent repository of his work. It also includes works by Dalí and other Surrealists and an adults-only room bathed in red light. Some but not all of his movie work is on display. In 2005, Gruyères ordered him to remove a model of the Alien monster from outside the museum, saying it was not good for the town’s image. (They should be so lucky!)
“The Dutch customs once thought my pictures were photos. Where on earth did they think I could have photographed my subjects? In Hell, perhaps?”
- H.R. Giger
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