Ode to the Giger

“Giger’s work disturbs us, spooks us, because of its enormous evolutionary time span. It shows us, all too clearly, where we come from and where we are going.”

Timothy Leary, The New York Times

This post is comparatively late. By internet standards, I’m sure this is old news, but to those of us who know and really respect what H.R. Giger has done, perhaps this won’t seem so late to the party.

H.R. Giger, best known for his creature design for Ridley Scott’s Alien, along with his surreal biomechanoid airbrush paintings and sculptures, died at age 74 on May 12th, 2014.

If in the event you don’t know who H.R. Giger is and you’ve stumbled upon this post without any background, consider this:


If this isn’t familiar, then there’s a certain movie from 1979 that begs to be seen. Otherwise, get the heck off my blog.

Now, assuming those reading this at least have a passing familiarity with the above alien, known in lore-whore circles as a xenomorph, let us now offer a moment of silence for the passing of H.R. Giger, the designer behind this creature that has frightened and inspired generations of people.

I’ve talked about how things that are familiar are creepy, and I’ve always felt that nothing epitomized this more than Giger’s alien. The very nature of the biomechanoid appearance just screams science fiction, and as a Surrealist, Giger did not shy away from topics or subjects that can prove to be downright uncomfortable. From erotic art to disturbing nightmares, there’s a lot to see and a lot to learn from this eccentric Swiss.

I remember being personally inspired by his work back in my college years as an art major (and a teacher trying to correct me on the pronunciation of Giger’s name; it is in fact GEE-gur, by the way). I remember emulating his creations, playing with toys made from the movies, laying awake at night because I thought I heard a face-hugger scramble somewhere in the wall.

But H.R. Giger’s work is merely the manifestation of a peculiar mind. He suffered from night terrors which influenced much of his work, his life partner committed suicide in 1975 (though he had married since then) — check out his Li paintings — and depression, something no creative should find unusual. Looking at his work, one would not be hard pressed to see how these factors played into his style.

Little remains that hasn’t already been said about the man. His influences and style are undeniably dark and twisted, yet disturbingly close to home. He was known throughout the world, and a number of Giger Bars had in fact sprouted. The one in New York City and in Tokyo have since closed down for their own reasons, but the remaining two can be found in Switzerland – one in his hometown of Chur and the other at The Museum HR Giger Bar, located in Château St. Germain, Gruyères.


Apparently there’s word that new ones may yet open, possibly in New York and Seattle, if Wikipedia is to be believed.

I may have not been able to meet the man, but I’ve been a longtime fan of his work, and perhaps one day I can pay tribute by getting a drink while sitting in a high-backed Harkonnen chair.

No music for today. I’d rather do the whole respectful silence thing. But then, those of us familiar with Alien, well, we all know that even if we screamed no one would hear us anyway.

Take care, dear readers. If there are creatives alive today that you admire, we live in an age where more than ever it is possible to reach them, even if just to assure them of your fandom.



2 responses to “Ode to the Giger

  1. Oh I remember those alien movies well, but I actually never knew who the creator was.

    And that bar look terrifying. I’d be too nervous about something spontaneously bursting through someone’s chest to get comfortable in there.

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