09 April 2009

HR Giger - Life and Works

Giger was born in Chur, Switzerland in 1940. When he was 22, he moved to Zurich, Austria, where he studied architecture and industrial design at the School of Applied Arts. He started working with ink and oil paints and had his first one-man show the age of 26. Shortly thereafter he learned how to use an airbrush.

In 1969, Giger's first posters were printed and distributed world wide. He also designed the costumes and make-up for the play, "Early Morning" at the prominent Schauspielhaus in Zurich.

Giger's "bio-mechanical" works are quite surreal, very dark, and sometimes a bit scary. His influences include authors Gustav Meyrink, Jean Cocteau and HP Lovecraft.

His 1977 book entitled Necronomicon inspired the look for Ridley Scott's ground breaking movie, Alien. This was Giger's first film, earning him a well-deserved 1980 Oscar for "Best Achievement in Visual Effect." He went on to also work on the films Poltergeist 2, Alien 3, and Species.

Many albums covers from the 1970's through the 1990's feature Giger's work. Some jobs were commissions while others used his previously done works. He also collaborated and designed guitars and guitar and microphone stands for the band Korn.

The HR Giger Museum at Chateau St. Germain in the medieval town of Gruyeres, Switzerland, was opened in 1998. It houses the world's largest collection of Giger's paintings, sculptures, furniture and film designs. The top floor contains Giger's personal collection of works by such artists as Dali, Fuchs, Dado, Weber, Brus, Sandoz, Burland, Kuhn, Coleman, Ruppert and Lassen.

Giger designed several bars in which the furniture and architecture is in his "bio-mechanical" style. These Giger Bars feature lots of bone motifs, especially in the arches!

In 2004, Giger's work was featured in a six-month long retrospective at the Museum Halle Saint Pierre in Paris, France. There were about 200 works of art, with 90% of them being on loan from private collections and Swiss museums. In that same year, Giger was awarded the "La Medaille de la Ville de Paris."

In the next two years, Giger's works were featured in equally large exhibitions at the National Technical Museum in Prage, Czech Republic, and at the Kunsthaus Vien, in Vienna, Austria.

In 2006 Giger married his long-time love, Carmen Maria Scheifele. She helps him run the museum.

Here is a short documentary/interview with Giger:


Garg the Unzola said...

Great artist! I got the Alien DVD box set primarily because it featured some interviews and artworks of Giger. One of a kind.

Liz said...

Garg the Unzola - I'm a big fan, too! Seen and own all the movies!

Lana Gramlich said...

Cool architecture! For some reason, I always get his name mixed up w/M.C. Escher, even though I'm well aware that their styles are vastly different!

cat said...

be entertained

YogaforCynics said...

Whoah...that dude from the ELP cover...that's some intense shit....

Liz said...

Lana - Escher is rather surreal, too!

Cat - Giger's work is definitely entertainining. Would love to see the museum and bar.

Yoga - intense is a good word!

Jose Sinclair said...

Giger is a terrific and frightening artist.. his designs made Aliens the scariest film I've ever seen - and this stuff could be alive somewhere, that you have to believe! (it's a big universe...)

nice post..
jose sinclair
my art at: http://josesinclair.blogspot.com

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