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H.R. Giger
Hans Ruedi Giger;
photo by Jon Hanna, 2006
H.R. Giger
Woman's Torso with an Elongated Skull
(©1993 H.R. Giger)
outside of the Giger Museum;
photo by Jon Hanna, 2008
H.R. Giger
Interior ceiling arch and chair in Giger Museum Bar
(©2003 H.R. Giger);
photo by Jon Hanna, 2006
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H.R. Giger
Summary
The son of a pharmacist, Swiss artist Hans Ruedi Giger has worked in a wide variety of mediums over the course of his career. However, he is most well-known for his airbrush paintings, as well as his designs for the sci-fi movie Alien, for which he won an Oscar on April 14, 1980.

Along with contemporaries such as Robert Venosa, De Es Schwertberger, Philip Rubinov-Jacobson, and others, Giger's work is usually categorized within a second wave of artists working in the style of "Fantastic Realism". Some of these individuals trained under or were collegues of Ernst Fuchs, who co-founded the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism in 1948. Giger has stated that Fuchs is his "greatest and deepest inspiration and that he is the greatest artist alive today," remarking, "If I had seen his work when I was young, I never would have begun to paint myself."

Giger's art is widely appreciated by the psychedelic community. He was a guest at Albert Hofmann's 100th birthday party. Timothy Leary wrote the introduction to one of Giger's books. Ann Shulgin has noted that Giger's art illustrates Carl Jung's characterization of "the Shadow". And Stanislav Grof, who wrote the intro to another Giger book, has co-lectured with the artist and has described the deep empathetic understanding of Giger's work as related by some LSD subjects. It is unquestionable that Giger's dark biomechanical visions have captured the modern face of fear.

Giger's designs have been used by over a half-dozen films, nearly two-dozen recording artists, and over two-dozen books have been published featuring his art. He has done custom designs for a handful of artists such as Walpurgis, ELP, Debbie Harry, Steve Stevens, and Jonathan Davis. Since 1998, an impressive collection of the artist's work has been housed at the H.R. Giger Museum, Château St. Germain, in Gruyères. Across the street at the Giger Museum Bar, little old Swiss men (and women) may down a nip of absinthe--perhaps from the brand sporting a label featuring one of the artist's paintings1 that was previously used on the cover of Emerson Lake & Palmer's album Brain Salad Surgery.

Giger reportedly died after an injury sustained during a fall.

Quote
"It is sad that you have to keep your mouth shut about the things that are most exciting; you never can be sure whether they come under the statue of limitations or not. The older I become, the more nervous I get, because I believe that someone like myself can't be lucky all the time."
-- H.R. Giger, H.R. GIGER ARh+, 1991
Author of Books
  • H.R. Giger--Kunst Design Film (2009)
  • H.R. Giger--Das Schaffen vor Alien 1961-1976 (2007)
  • H.R. Giger Escultur, Gràfica I Disseny (2007)
  • Giger in Wien (2006)
  • H.R. Giger in Prague (2005)
  • Le monde selon H.R. Giger (2004)
  • Icons (2002)
  • H.R. Giger: 14 Posters (2002)
  • H.R. Giger Tarot (2000)
  • The Mystery of San Gottardo (1998)
  • Monsters from the Id: The H.R. Giger Bestiary--A Portfolio of Fantastic Creatures (1998)
  • WWW H.R. Giger Com (1996 / 1997)
  • H.R. Giger Visioni di fine millennio (1996)
  • H.R. Giger's Film Design (1996)
  • Giger: Posterbook (1996)
  • Species Design (1995)
  • H.R. Giger ARh+: 30 Postcards (1995)
  • H.R. Giger's Watch Abart '93 (1993)
  • H.R. Giger's Necronomicon (1993)
  • H.R. Giger's Necronomicon II (1993)
  • H.R. Giger Skizzen 1985 (1992)
  • Giger's Alien (1989 / 1991 / 1994)
  • H.R. Giger's Biomechanics (1988 / 1993)
  • H.R. Giger's Retrospective: 1964-1984 (1984/1997)
  • H.R. Giger's New York City (1981)
  • Passagen (1974)
  • H.R. Giger ARh+ (1971 / 1991)
  • Interviews
  • "H.R. Giger" by George Petros, ArtSync Magazine 60-63 (Fall 2009)
  • "Baphomet's Lament: An Interview with H.R. Giger" by R.F. Paul, Esoterra 9:3-11 (Fall/Winter 2000)
  • Videos
  • H.R. Giger: Träme und Visionen [interview in German] (2011)
  • H.R. Giger Interview by Ron Stern, JustSayGoTV (2010)
  • Debbie Harry & H.R. Giger Interview (Part 1) by Robin Denslow (1981)
  • Debbie Harry & H.R. Giger Interview (Part 2) by Robin Denslow (1981)
  • Notes
    1. Following their display at a 2005 art exhibit in Prague, Giger's original paintings Brain Salad Surgery I and Brain Salad Surgery II (used on the Absinthe Brevans label) were stolen. A reward has been offered for information resulting in their return. Interestingly, Absinthe Brevans is not a Swiss product, but rather a French brand.