May 14, 2014

Thank You H.R. Giger

The art and design community lost one of its most inspirational and forward thinking members this past Monday. Hans Ruedi Giger, painter and sculptor, passed away after being hospitalized for falling down the stairs in his home.

 

H.R. Giger

 

H.R. Giger is best known for his groundbreaking work in surrealism by featuring dark, and often times, gloomy biomechanical figures. His ability to portray these mechanical and organic hybrid creations paved the way for future artists to explore and expand this fanciful genre. Giger’s work is also credited with inspiring the alien invader in the popular 1979 cult favorite Alien and its sequels. Giger’s talents extended further than the canvas and in the late 70s he began contributing and collaborating in the design of visual effects for several award winning movies and video games including Dark Seed and Dark Seed II.

His science fiction-esque style struck a chord with the masses. Many of his paintings became cover art or featured booklet material for the albums of numerous musical talents including a popular 80’s Punk Rock band the Dead Kennedy’s. To add merit to the fact that his paintings were sometimes grotesque and disturbing, the Dead Kennedy’s use of one of Giger’s paintings, featuring genitalia, sparked a controversy. After the parents of a young fan saw his art in the album booklet, they quickly filed a lawsuit. Although the album came with a warning about its contents, Giger’s art was eventually removed. This did not deter fans, however, and only prompted them to send away for the art on their own accord.

Other notable accomplishments include Giger opening his own museum in Switzerland, wining an Academy Award for his contributions to the visual effects in Alien, and directing several films in the 60s and 70s.

 

H.R. Giger

 

The legacy of monochromatic, nightmarish dreamscapes Hans Ruedi Giger left behind will continue to inspire surrealist disciples for decades to come. Giger was once quoted as saying, “Some people say my work is often depressing and pessimistic, with the emphasis on death, blood, overcrowding, strange beings and so on, but I don’t really think it is.” This is why it isn’t a far stretch to lean more towards his sentiment that, “There is hope and a kind of beauty in there somewhere, if you look for it.” And really isn’t that ultimately what art and design is all about?

Thank you H.R. Giger for your many contributions and for being such an inspiration to so many.

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