By Chris Rennirt
There are some people whose lives made such a difference in our world (our own microcosm of self-importance) that we forget, at least impulsively, how much they did for the world at large. Swiss surrealist artist, designer, and sculptor H.R. Giger was just such a man who did that for me (and countless others, for sure). I admit that when I first heard the news of his passing June 12th, I did indeed first think of myself. I first thought of the wide-eyed 13 year old I was, watching the movie that bears his artistic thumbprint, from brooding start to frenetic ending–Alien. I can’t help but think of how his biomechanical creature from LV-426 changed the word of science fiction forever. I can’t help but think of how Hans Ruedi Giger also changed my life, as much as he changed the world. No, I hadn’t heard of him before Alien; but, if I could have, how much earlier my life would have been changed.
Yes, of course, Giger should be remembered for his groundbreaking, surreal art in general, as much or more so for his art’s otherworldly, alien uniqueness–it’s unsurpassed vision, established much earlier than the movie. Yes, he should be celebrated as much (if not more so) as Picasso, Rembrandt, and Monet, just to name a few. (I could go on and on with all of the usuals.) Giger’s Necronom IV is the Mona Lisa of surrealistic art for the future, forevermore. (And I’d argue that to be fact rather than opinion.) Only the banality of a pop culture niche and lesser appreciation for surrealism dethrones his reign, unfairly. The man was a genius of geniuses, not just in his ability to render on canvas (and with sculpture) the images in his mind; Giger was as much of a genius with his gift to even conceive of such things—things beyond even the imagination of most artists and creators of any kind. Although I rarely use the word “things” with descriptions (as it usually describes nothing), Giger’s work defied definition to an extent that “things” was often the best of words available—and for an artist, creating what must be called “things,” because they can be identified with nothing done before, is the greatest compliment I can give. To Giger, I give this compliment profoundly.
To Giger, I have much to say that speaks for many. Bring on those chestbursters, egg silos, derelict ships, and protracting jaws ripping our horror-loving hearts with a deep space muse. Bring on those wind-swept alien worlds, with vaginal entrances to visceral mysteries, horrifying and erotic. Bring on Freud’s strudel of intergalactic dreams, psycho-sexually charged to warp drive, spiraling to nightmares in air-brush Hell. Last but not least, bring on those space jockeys—those pilots of sci-fi sequels to come—romancing a past unknown, looking always to the future. Yes, bring on everything you can, H.R. Give us all you’ve got, even now. In your absence on Earth, your inspiration still creates.
Rest in peace, H.R. Giger. May your heaven be as surreal and wonderful for you, as the worlds you created on Earth. May you always have frontiers to explore. As a visionary, you will never be forgotten; he who is the future will always be remembered.
For an animated look at H.R. Giger’s mindblowing art, don’t miss H.R. Giger: Art in Motion. It’s a fascinating journey through the mind of the master himself.