Maybe this was your first contact. 1979.
When the word ‘alien’ was truly redefined forever.
Or perhaps like myself, you are older and were more shocked at a younger age when the bizarrely beautiful works of HR Giger were a bit newer. One of these, perhaps?
No matter, I am sure it was a memorable moment, a questioning and perhaps eerie moment. Yes? Yes!
Then you are more like me than I even imagined. I have tried to write an obituary for HR Giger for Horror Addicts but it more becomes a reflection, like his work. He was a private man, eschewing the spotlight in the dawning age of celebrity and in a time when illustration, design and fine art were perceived as more separate. He preferred to let his work speak for him. I respect that and have always looked to his art and never his fame or personal details. The hard and precise yet moody airbrush, the organic yet metal shapes, the reflection of us all that he captured when we weren’t looking. These are what speak to me and that is both the beauty and the horror that is his art and it is compelling. Unforgettable.
Alien’s co-writer Dan O’Bannon recalled meeting Giger for the first time, in a Paris hotel. Giger offered him some opium. O’Bannon asked why he took it. “I am afraid of my visions,” Giger replied. “It’s just your mind,” O’Bannon said. Giger responded: “That is what I am afraid of.”
“Sometimes people only see horrible, terrible things in my paintings,” Giger once said. “I tell them to look again, and they may see two elements in my paintings – the horrible things and the nice things.”
I may never get to see a Giger Bar but at least my avatar in Second Life has a reproduction of one of the chairs. 🙂 My own art from 2009 hangs on the wall on the left, the segmented and quasi-organic shapes clearly inspired by Giger’s works. His influence reached far and will never stop reaching and growing. Better than any obituary, it is a testament to the meeting of minds and the questions he asked. Of himself, of us all, and now of the universe itself. HR Giger, 1940-2014
In a New York Times obituary, Timothy Leary, a friend of Giger’s, was quoted as having praised the artist by saying, “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.”
None of us knows when we will go, or to where. Visions from HR Giger will continue to both haunt my nightmares as well as inspire.
Stay Beautiful, Addicts! ~Mimielle
Sources & Credits: New York Times, The Guardian, Giger Museum, Omni Magazine, Damianos Giger Chair in Second Life