H.R. Giger: Wikis

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H. R. Giger
Giger in 2008
Birth name Hans Ruedi Giger
Born February 5, 1940 (1940-02-05) (age 70)
Chur, Grisons, Canton, Switzerland
Nationality Swiss
Field painting, sculpting, set design, movie directing
Movement Science fiction, Fantasy, Occult, Macabre
Influenced by Ernst Fuchs, Salvador Dalí

Hans Rudolf "Ruedi" Giger (pronounced /ˈɡiːɡər/, born in Chur, Grisons Canton, Switzerland, February 5, 1940) is a Swiss surrealist painter, sculptor, and set designer, who won an Academy Award for Best Achievement for Visual Effects for his design work on the film Alien.[1]



Giger was born in 1940 in Chur, Switzerland, the son of a chemist. In 1962, he moved to Zurich, where he studied interior and industrial design at the School of Commercial Art until 1970.[2] Giger had a relationship with Swiss actress Li Tobler until she committed suicide in 1975. He married Mia Bonzanigo in 1979; they split up a year and a half later.


Giger's style and thematic execution have been influential. His design for the Alien was inspired by his painting Necronom IV and earned him an Oscar in 1980. His books of paintings, particularly Necronomicon and Necronomicon II (1985) and the frequent appearance of his art in Omni magazine continued his rise to international prominence.[2] Giger is also well known for artwork on several records.

In 1998 Giger acquired the Château St. Germain in Gruyères, Switzerland, and it now houses the H. R. Giger Museum, a permanent repository of his work.[3]


Birth Machine sculpture in Gruyères

Giger got his start with small ink drawings before progressing to oil paintings. For most of his career, Giger has worked predominantly in airbrush, creating monochromatic canvasses depicting surreal, nightmarish dreamscapes. However, he has now largely abandoned large airbrush works in favor of works with pastels, markers or ink.[2]

His most distinctive stylistic innovation is that of a representation of human bodies and machines in a cold, interconnected relationship, described as "biomechanical". His paintings often display fetishistic sexual imagery. His main influences were painters Ernst Fuchs and Salvador Dalí. He met Salvador Dalí, to whom he was introduced by painter Robert Venosa. He was also a personal friend of Timothy Leary. Giger is perhaps the best-known sufferer of night terrors and his paintings are all to some extent inspired by his experiences with that particular sleep disorder. He studied interior and industrial design at the School of Commercial Art in Zurich (from 1962 to 1970) and made his first paintings as a means of art therapy.[2]


In 2007, Giger and his work were subjects of a 19-minute documentary, H.R. Giger's Sanctuary, which toured internationally and was released on DVD in May 2008.[4]

Obscenity lawsuit

Copies of Giger's Work 219: Landscape XX, better known as Penis Landscape, were included in an insert with the Dead Kennedys album Frankenchrist and became the centerpiece of a 1986 obscenity lawsuit against Eric Reed Boucher, a.k.a. Jello Biafra, the vocalist and songwriter for the band.

Other works

Entrance to Giger Bar in Chur.
Ibanez H. R. Giger signature guitar

In the 1960s and 1970s, Giger directed a number of films, including Swiss Made (1968), Tagtraum (1973), Giger's Necronomicon (1975) and Giger's Alien (1979).

Giger has created furniture designs, particularly the Harkonnen Capo Chair for a movie of the novel Dune that was to be directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Many years later, David Lynch directed the film, using only rough concepts by Giger. Giger had wished to work with Lynch,[5] as he states in one of his books that Lynch's film Eraserhead was closer to realizing his vision in film even than his own films.[2]

Giger has applied his biomechanical style to interior design. One "Giger Bar" sprang up in Tokyo, but the realization of his designs were a great disappointment to the artist, since the Japanese organization behind the venture did not wait for his final designs, but decided to barrel ahead with nothing more than Giger's rough preliminary sketches. For that reason, Giger disowned the Tokyo Giger Bar and never set foot in the place. Within a few years, the establishment was out of business.[citation needed] The two Giger Bars in his native Switzerland (in Gruyères and Chur), however, were built under Giger's close personal supervision and reflect his original concepts for them accurately. At The Limelight in Manhattan, Giger's artwork was licensed to decorate the VIP room, the uppermost chapel of the landmarked church, but it was never intended to be a permanent installation and bore no similarity to the real Giger Bars in Switzerland. The arrangement was terminated after two years when the Limelight closed its doors.[6] As of 2009 only the two authentic Swiss Giger Bars remain.

His art has greatly influenced tattooists and fetishists worldwide. Under a licensing deal Ibanez guitars released an H. R. Giger signature series: the Ibanez ICHRG2, an Ibanez Iceman, features "NY City VI", the Ibanez RGTHRG1 has "NY City XI" printed on it, the S Series SHRG1Z has a metal-coated engraving of "Biomechanical Matrix" on it, and a 4-string SRX bass, SRXHRG1, has "N.Y. City X" on it.[2]

Popular culture

Giger is often referred to in pop culture, especially in science fiction and cyberpunk. In particular William Gibson (who wrote an early script for Alien 3) seems particularly fascinated, describes a minor character in Virtual Light, Lowell, as having New York XXIV tattooed across his back and in Idoru has a secondary character, Yamazaki, describe the buildings of nanotech Japan as Giger-esque.


  • Dune (designs for unproduced Alejandro Jodorowsky adaptation of the Frank Herbert novel; the movie Dune was later made in an adaptation by David Lynch.)
  • Alien (designed, among other things, the Alien itself, The Derelict and the Space Jockey)
  • Alien 3 (designed the puma-like Alien bodyshape, plus a number of unused concepts, many mentioned on the special features disc of Alien 3)
  • Poltergeist II: The Other Side
  • Killer Condom
  • Species (designed Sil and the Ghost train in a dream sequence)
  • Batman Forever (designed radically different envisioning of the Batmobile; design not used in the film)
  • Future-Kill (designed artwork for the movie poster)
  • Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis (creature designs)
Jonathan Davis with his microphone stand

Work for recording artists

Interior decoration

Computer games


  1. ^ Out of this world, by Samantha Warwick, The Guardian, 29 April 2006. Retrieved Jun 18, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Hans Ruedi Giger, HR Giger ARh+, tr. Karen Williams, Taschen, 1993, ISBN 9783822896426
  3. ^ Gary Singh, "Giger Harvest," Silicon Alleys, Metro Silicon Valley, July 8-14, 2009, p. 8
  4. ^ http://www.psfilmfest.org/festival/film/detail.aspx?id=19130&FID=31
  5. ^ Sheldon Teitelbaum, "Giger's Necronomicon Imagery Comes Alive on the Screen", Cinefantastique vol. 18 no. 4, May 1988, http://www.littlegiger.com/articles/files/Cinefantastique_18_04.pdf p. 13 (PDF) viewed July 9, 2009
  6. ^ Frank X. Owen, Clubland: The Fabulous Rise and Murderous Fall of Club Culture, New York: St. Martin's, 2003, p. 269.
  7. ^ Prog Archives - Island Pictures
  8. ^ HR Giger. Taschen. 2002. p. p. 114. ISBN 3-8228-1723-6. 
  9. ^ http://www.terrorizer.com/main-forum/music/triptykon-artwork-unveiledgiger-involved

External links

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