H. R. Giger in 1978. Image Source: IB Times.
Very sad news today: Swiss surrealist artist Hans Rudolf 'Ruedi' Giger died on 12 May 2014. He was 74. Giger was a Posthuman visionary who glimpsed an uncomfortable future, where humans and machines would combine biomechanically around sexuality. In the 1960s, Giger contemplated grotesque human bodies, twisted by nuclear radiation. Other influences on his work included H. P. Lovecraft, Samuel Beckett and Edgar Wallace, all of whom created fantastical worlds which were metaphors for layers of human consciousness.
Giger with alien design. Image Source: Twentieth Century Fox via Guardian.
Giger gained worldwide renown for his design of the monster on Alien (1979). Screenwriter Dan O'Bannon met Giger and saw a book of his sketches during Alejandro Jodorowsky's ill-fated film adaptation of the novel Dune. Giger's images helped inspire O'Bannon's earliest Alien script; on O'Bannon's urging, director Ridley Scott asked Giger to design the alien, based on Giger's painting Necronom IV. Giger also designed the Facehugger, the Chestburster, the Derelict spaceship, and the Space Jockey. He and fellow Alien production artists won an Oscar. Giger worked on later movies in the franchise as well as other films.
The Necronom IV (1976), inspiration for the alien. Image Source: IB Times.
Giger's advice for aspiring artists, reproduced here, became one of this blog's most popular posts ever. Although he gained celebrity for his work on the Alien franchise, his work moved well past science fiction. He explored the underworld of the late 20th century's all-consuming ego. His images, designs and interiors constituted a Dorian Gray portrait of the cost exacted by the fusion between that ego and the tools it uses to gain dominance. Giger's shadows - grim, bleak, unrelenting, insane or obscene - are now commonplace on the back alleys of the Internet.
Alien - Behind the Scenes (Part 1 of 2). Video Source: Youtube.
See all my posts on H. R. Giger.