For those who don’t already know, H.R. Giger died last month after an unfortunate accident in his home. Giger created the character designs and landscapes in Ridley Scott’s blockbuster Alien movie franchise. His famous biomechanical art in Necronomicon, is said to be the inspiration behind the Alien films. This New York Times article explains all the details about his death HERE. However I don’t want to talk about H. R. Giger’s death. I want to take a moment to celebrate the amazing work and life of this artist.
H. R. Giger did so much more than just work on the Alien movies. In addition to being an artist, he was also a sculptor and furniture designer, whose works can be seen in his museum. Despite gaining success, Giger is still a misunderstood figure. The art community never gave him his due, demeaning his work by shelving it under “pornographic kitsch.” If all you can see when you look at H. R. Giger’s art are penises, I honestly don’t know what to tell you. Look at his writhing landscapes more closely. Observe how he weaves intricate detailing with phantasmal surrealism. Heavy, dark colors play up his muted highlights, which gives his work an almost metallic appearance. He combines metal with flesh with alien and yet familiar forms. The fact many of his creatures are in the act of foreplay or copulation only adds to the phantasmagoria.
His imagery speaks to me on a deeper, psychological level. When I look at his work, I am reminded how frightening sex is. Sexuality can be predatory…gritty…even violent. Erotic horror isn’t new, and yet many are quick to write it off as “porn” just because there’s a breast or penis on the canvas. But what of the “alien” that lurks in all of us? What of the bizarre contortions we all make during lovemaking? Is “lovemaking” too cutesy a word when what we truly desire is more honest and dark? H. R. Giger pushed boundaries. He frightened us by flicking the light on and exposing our “nakedness.” He created one of the most popular and iconic monster in cinematic history! And for that, he has my utmost respect. May he rest in peace.