Giger exhibition in the Hluboká Castle Riding School

Giger exhibition in the Hluboká Castle Riding School

Hans Rudolf Giger is known worldwide as a visual artist, painter, sculptor, designer and architect, particularly for the development of his unique "Biomechanical Style" as well as the creation of the so-called "Alien" life form (Oscar winner in the category "Best Achievement for Visual Effects "), characters that can still be seen as classics in the movie of the same name "Alien".

For the film "Species" he created a train model and the female film character "Sil". We now had the opportunity to see a cross-section of his life's work. The exhibition can still be seen in Hluboká until November 19, 2023:

Aleš South Bohemian Gallery until November 19, 2023 (link to map)

Hluboká nad Vltavou 144, 373 41 Hluboká nad Vltavou, Czech Republic

Stations in the life of HR Giger

giger ausstellung 03Giger was born on February 5, 1940 in Chur and lived as a freelance artist in Zurich from 1962.

He particularly explored the emotional border areas - stories and incidents with erotic or quite macabre content, which formed the basis for his surrealist dreamscapes, very often linked to the themes of biomechanics, birth and women.

It remains to be seen whether in the future his visions will be viewed as clairvoyant abilities or whether they will remain “just” dark fantasy figures, because developments in medicine are constantly progressing, regardless of whether we are talking about artificial organs or artificial joints.

giger ausstellung 02After completing high school and completing an apprenticeship as an architectural draftsman, he studied interior and industrial design at the School of Applied Arts in Zurich from 1962 onwards. During his training he created his first pen and ink drawings ("Atom Children"), after which he was able to publish his works in the underground newspapers "Hotcha!", "Clou", "Agitation" and "The Cthulhu News" by Robert A. Fischer.

However, he remained relatively unknown for some time, which only changed after 1966, when he completed his studies and established himself as an interior designer. He worked as an employee of the designer Andreas Christen in Zurich on an office furniture program for Knoll International and had the first exhibition of his work a short time later. In the next two years he created numerous sculptures and pictures such as “Girthing Machine”, “Astreunuchen” and “Suitcase Baby”, with which he finally became known and commercially successful after another exhibition in Zurich.

The first paintings in oil and airbrush were created in 1966

giger ausstellung 06Giger's first paintings began in 1966, most of them in oil. When Giger discovered the airbrush in 1972, it became his preferred method of painting. In the following 20 years, around 600 paintings were created using ink and acrylic paints, some of which were over four meters wide.

These also include individual paintings such as (Daydream or Snake Landscape) which were created in collaboration with painters such as Claude Sandoz, Walter Wegmüller or Martin Schwarz.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Giger gave up painting to devote himself entirely to three-dimensional work.

giger ausstellung 07The first sculptural works were created in the mid-1960s. At that time, Giger preferred working with polyester, e.g. B. 1968 when he created costumes for the Swiss film Swissmade by Fredi M. Murer. Later, objects made of bronze, aluminium and other materials were created. In the 1990s, Giger created the twelve signs of the zodiac as biomechanoids for his Zodiac fountain.

From the time Giger stopped painting, one of his preoccupations was translating some of his earlier pictures into three dimensions, including Birthing Machine and Passages. Between 1996 and 2007, Ronald Brandt transformed a large number of Giger's drawings into three-dimensional sculptures. He was Giger's personal assistant.

Many of these sculptures can be viewed in Giger's Museum and the Giger Cafe.

“Alien” marks a new chapter in his work

giger ausstellung 09As early as 1968 he was working exclusively as an artist and filmmaker. As a set and costume designer, his style shaped well-known films such as “Alien” (1979) and “Species” (1995). With his dark drawings, gloomy record covers and creations, he shaped the aesthetics of the death and black metal scene for decades. The record cover KooKoo for Debbie Harry and the cover Brain Salad Surgery for Emerson, Lake and Palmer are also considered milestones.

Giger was in a relationship for several years with the Swiss actress Li Tobler, who committed suicide on Whit Monday 1975. In 1979 Giger married Mia Bonzanigo; the marriage ended after a year and a half. Mia Bonzanigo inspired Giger, among other things, to create the Erotomechanics series of images. He married his second wife Carmen Maria Scheifele Giger in 2006. Giger's friends included personalities such as the artist Friedrich Kuhn and Timothy Leary.

In 1998, the HR Giger Museum was opened in Gruyères, Canton of Fribourg, Switzerland. The museum is housed in St-Germain Castle, which Giger bought at auction in 1997. The museum houses Giger's private collection of fantastic art (including works by Günter Brus, Ernst Fuchs, Gottfried Helnwein, Arnulf Rainer, Franz Ringel, Thuri Werkner) as well as a collection of his own works. In 2003, the museum in Gruyères was expanded to include a Giger bar. In 2003, Giger opened the Museum HR Giger Bar in Gruyères, right next to the Museum HR Giger.

Back to the beginning – back to furniture making?

giger ausstellung 10Giger's work can be attributed to surrealism; Compared to one of the most famous representatives of this style, Salvador Dalí, it becomes clear how different Giger's perspective on the world was. Influences of Fantastic Realism also derive from his friendship with representatives of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism such as Ernst Fuchs. Miodrag Djuric was valued by Giger.

The recurring theme of his works is the concept of biomechanoids, which he coined, for his style to fuse the creaturely-organic with the technical-mechanical in a dark surrealist subject, in disturbing to morbid interplay with sexual suggestions. In addition to his important painting work, he also designed graphics, sculptures and furniture. In 2014 and 2023, Supreme released limited-edition garments featuring his work.

giger ausstellung 08Giger's most famous pieces of furniture are the Harkonnen furniture, originally designed for the film “Dune”. He then founded a furniture making studio with Conny Fries, where the Harkonnen Capo chair with three skulls piled on top of each other was created. Giger also designed tables, mirrors, lamps and other objects such as: B. a microphone stand for Jonathan Davis from Korn.

HR Giger lived and worked in Zurich-Seebach. He died on May 12, 2014 in a Zurich hospital from injuries sustained in a fall. His grave is in the cemetery of Gruyères in the canton of Fribourg.

Music and film fans and HR Giger's pay attention:

giger 01With the exhibition “Metamorphoses” the works of HR Giger can be seen for the last time and only until November 19th, 2023 in the Aleš South Bohemian Gallery in the former neo-Gothic castle riding school in Hluboka nad Vltavou in the Czech Republic, which we would definitely like to recommend. Since the surroundings also contribute to a longer stay, a short vacation is ideal here, which we were just able to experience. And not just for lovers of classic rock history, as Giger was also very active in the film industry. As early as 1968 he was working exclusively as an artist and filmmaker. As a set and costume designer, his style influenced well-known films such as Alien (1979) and Species (1995). For his work on Alien, Giger won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects in 1980 and his style became known to a wider audience.

Aleš South Bohemian Gallery until November 19, 2023 (link to map)

Hluboká nad Vltavou 144, 373 41 Hluboká nad Vltavou, Czech Republic

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Floh de Cologne – Mumien-cover by HR Giger



Life | Outdoors