His work was a representation of how the human form melded with machines through a symbiotic yet cold and desolate interconnectedness. Giger termed this relationship as “Bio-Mechanical”.
Born in 1940 in an Eastern town in Switzerland, Hans Rudolf Giger studied Architecture and Industrial Design but started his career as a surrealist painter, sculptor and then later as a set designer. Beginning his artistic endeavours with smaller ink drawings, Giger later became most recognised for his airbrush work, which portrayed surreal, haunting monochromatic forms and dreamscapes. Much of Giger’s work, while heavily influenced by surrealist painter Salvador Dali was also deeply inspired by the sleep disorder known as ‘Night Terrors’.
Art aside, Giger will perhaps always be best known and remembered for his creation of the most iconic creature in modern sci-fi, Alien, the design of which was inspired by his own painting ‘Necronom IV’ (the post’s featured image) and one that won him an Academy Award in 1980.
Who can forget the touching scene in Alien between Ash, the decapitated Artificial Intelligence and Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) where he sympathetically says, “You still don’t understand what you’re dealing with, do you? A perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility”. And it is this perfection that has allowed for the Alien to continue to inspire sci-fi film, comic, toy and art fans generation after generation.
Post his work on the Alien franchise, his books of paintings, particularly Necronomicon and Necronomicon II continued to heighten his prominence as a modern surrealist sci-fi master of art and design and it’s many sub-divisions and his name will always be first in science fiction popular culture.
His close friend Timothy Leary said that Giger’s work disturbed and spooked us because of its enormous evolutionary time span. His work showed us all too clearly where we came from and to where we were going.
Giger was finally included in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2013 and sadly this week on May 12th he suffered fatal injuries, following a fall in his home.
We pay tribute to this creative genius of our time, HR Giger.