Hans Ruedi Giger: Biomechanical fantasy as spectacle

The ‘dark legacy’ of Swiss artist-designer Hans R. Giger is undeniably far-reaching and indelibly memorable. A graduate of the (then called) School of Applied Arts, Zurich, Giger came into prominence with an airbrush and free-hand painting style which found their way into the pages of his first published work – Necronomicon (1977). His fantasyscapes were dystopic, drained off luminescent colour, bereft of the life giving rays of the sun, and with his thematic obsession with the biomechanical universe – coupling industrial machine to organic animal-human, he manages to marry the distant future and the distant past with an inimitable, unforgiving bleakness. This resulted in a ‘love it-hate it-cannot ignore it’ relationship of many a viewer to his prolific artistic output across various media. British film director (Sir) Ridley Scott got hold of a copy of ‘Necronomicon’ during the planning of his film ‘Alien’ and contacted Giger to design the ‘Alien‘ (1979) filmscape. The rest is cinema/visual design history, putting Gigers work into international recognition, while influencing popular culture (television/film/video games/graphic novel/album art/tattoo art) in myriad ways. His biomechanical work is transformational and strangely disquieting, and his background in architecture and industrial design also led him to pursue his dark visions via sculptural and interior/architectural expressions. The spectacle of the biomechanical, as created by Giger, remains an important reminder of our times – of the industrial machine wanting to remain animal/human or animal/human-like, and not becoming either in the process, giving way to the possible fall of our cumulative ‘civilizations.’

From ‘Necronomicon’

From ‘Necronomicon’

From ‘Necronomicon’

Alien Hieroglyphics

Alien I

Alien II

Alien Monster II

Biomechanical landscape V

Biomechanical landscape VI

Biomechanical landscape. Scythe.


Facehugger IV.

Facehugger I.

Landscape XXVIII.

Landscape XVIII.

Landscape XVII.

New York City XXVI.

Giger in his studio, while working on the ‘Dune’ project.

Detail of wall in the ‘HR Giger Bar‘ in Château St. Germain, Gruyères, Switzerland.

Interior detail of the ‘HR Giger Bar‘ in Château St. Germain, Gruyères, Switzerland.

Interior detail of the ‘HR Giger Bar‘ in Château St. Germain, Gruyères, Switzerland.

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