- GIGER, H.R.
- Working name of Swiss artist and theatre and film designer - but not illustrator - Hansruedi Giger (1940-). He began developing his distinctive style in the early 1970s. Strikingly grotesque, morbid, necrophile, it draws heavily on the Surreal and the decadent traditions, his acknowledged influences including Arnold Bocklin (1827-1901), Hieronymus Bosch (1460-1516), Salvador Dali (1904-1989) and Antonio Gaudi(1852-1926), and there are clear resemblances also to the paintings of Max Ernst (1891-1976). It is perhaps from Ernst and Gaudi that he first took his main trademark, the combination of organic with machine-like forms, which has been termed "biomechanoid". The first two books of his work were A Rh+ (1971) and H.R. Giger (1976), but it was the third, H.R. Giger'sNecronomicon (1977; trans 1978 UK; exp 1991) - the title pays appropriate homage to H.P. LOVECRAFT - which drew the attention of the US and UK public to his work.Among these readers were the producers of the film ALIEN (1979), who invited HRG to help in the alien designs. (They had alsoheard of his weird 1975 designs for the unmade Jodorowski version of DUNE.) The spectacular results, done from working drawings subsequentlypublished as a portfolio, Alien (portfolio 1978), and in H.R. Giger's Alien (1979; rev vt Giger's Alien Film Design 1989), revolutionized thelook of sf cinema to a degree it would be difficult to overstate; it has since been much imitated in many films, including SATURN 3 (1980), LIFEFORCE (1985) and even VIDEODROME (1982), though it is doubtful if HRGhas profited from this. The idea that alien MACHINES might not look like ours - along with the very idea of the organic machine - was inventive, and in sf-cinema terms an important step away from anthropomorphism. (Some, though, would argue that the incorporation into HRG's aliens andtheir artefacts of penis and vagina shapes is as anthropomorphic as you can get.) HRG was unhappy with the execution of his designs for the film Poltergeist II (1986). Considering the fame of his film work, it issurprising he has done so little.He continued through the 1980s with very much the same kind of airbrushed painting in ink and acrylics: death/sex/machine imagery of staggering banality according to some, shocking Surrealism according to others; and his seminal influence in the sf field now seems to have been almost accidental, though it is not the first time Surrealism has influenced sf. His 1980s work can be seen in H.R. Giger: N.Y. City (1981 chap), H.R. Giger: Retrospektive, 1964-1984(1984), Giger's Necronomicon Two (1986),H.R. Giger's Biomechanics (1988; trans Clara H-richt Frame 1990 US) and ARh+ (1991; text trans Karen Williams 1992US).PNOther works: Portfolios of interest include: Ein Fressen fur de Psychiater (portfolio 1966); Biomechanoid (portfolio 1969); Trip- Tychon (portfolio 1970); Passagen (portfolio 1971); Second Celebration of the Four (portfolio 1977); Erotomechanics (portfolio 1980); N.Y.City (portfolio1982), not the same as the book.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. Academic. 2011.