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H.R. Giger, actually less known for his full name, Hans Ruedi Giger, is a Swiss artist who created highly influential artwork in the style of Fantastic-Realism. He was born on February 5, 1940, in Chur, Switzerland. Giger's developed interest in morbid and frightful images, as he describes himself, has been possibly influenced by a sleeping disorder and/or birth trauma. For anyone interested in learning more about the craft of this Swiss artist, I suggest picking up the book titled H.R. Giger's Necronomicon, which is a collection of H.R. Giger's paintings and sketches. The book also includes the author's biographical reflection on his own work.
When Giger was 22 years old, he moved to Zurich where he studied architecture and industrial design at the School of Applied Arts, graduating 3 years later. By 26 he arranged his first solo art exhibition. While H.R. Giger is well-known for his grotesque paintbrush paintings he is also a sculptor and a set designer. A great number of H.R.Giger's work reflects his obsession with mechanical functions of human beings, often depicting deformed human figures seemingly engraved with mechanical parts.
His microscopically detailed designs that have been originally adopted by the critically acclaimed Science Fiction movie Alien have left a memorable impression on the artists and designers in the film as well as interactive entertainment industry. Giger has directly or indirectly influenced much of the most popular Sci Fi computer and video games such as Abuse, Doom, Dune, Duke Nukem 3D, Half Life, Halo, Starcraft, Quake and many others.
HR Giger with his toys.
Giger's popularity in the United States is accredited in part by working on independent films such as Dune, Alien and Species. Giger's alien creature design for the movie Alien was inspired by his earlier painting "Necronom IV" earned him an Oscar in 1980. The movie Alien (directed by Ridley Scott), while influenced by Giger's previous artwork, initially having nothing to do with extraterrestrial beings, has given Giger more room for creativity than a number of other movies he was interested in contributing to. For example, in 1994, Joel Schumacher, an American film director and producer (The Phantom of the Opera, Batman & Robin) contacted James Cowan to bring in Giger to design a new version of the Batmobile. Giger's Batmobile designs could not be realized due to "time-constraints", however it's believed that in reality Giger refused to compromise his design to Warner Brothers' request.
Giger and Jonathan Davis collaboration
H.R. Giger had mentioned an interest in the Grammy Award winning band "Korn" led by the singer Jonathan Davis. In 2000, Jonathan Davis commissioned H. R. Giger to create a microphone stand for his band featuring the bio-mechanoical design. The microphone was first used by the band during the Untouchables tour (2002-2003) a year after the microphone was created in 2001.
Giger believes that the greatest threat to our civilization is overpopulation of the planet (hrgiger.com). He expressed this belief in his pen and ink artwork entitled "Birthmachine" completed in 1967. In this work, the viewer observes a loaded German semiautomatic pistol split in half to reveal the internal mechanisms of the gun. The pistol appears to be either a Walther PP or PPK. In German PPK stands for Polizeipistole Kriminalmodell (or Police Pistol Detective Model) and was specifically designed to be easily caried by a Police Detective. The model Giger uses in this work could definitely not be PPK/S or the PPK/E model, because the S variant was developed in 1968, one year after "Birth Machine" was complete, and the E variant was not being manufactured prior to 2007. Most likely H.R. Giger used the Walther PPK model, having considered the fact that this model was the most common variant of this pistol.
Giger uses what are known as "Birthmachine" babies (see the photo) in place of bullets themselves. These babies are armed with a set of what appears to be large goggles and a rifle held in the right arm. The shape of the lips of these babies eerily resembles that of the artist's himself. The babies are seated in a bullet case which is conveniently cut at a diagonal angle to show that just like the bisected pistol itself, while the shells theoretically exist, the contents are not bullets but human babies.
"Unfortunately, I seem to have an uncanny knack of attracting people
who are psychically ill. They suddenly see their own problems represented
in my pictures and they think I am one of them. They waste my valuable time
with their shitty problems and look on me as their free psychiatrist.
People who like my pictures should buy my catalogues and posters, not insist
on visiting me and expect me to play the fool for their entertainment. . . .
Naturally I make an exception for my friends,
and for the beautiful women in the world."
— H. R. Giger
http://www.hrgiger.com - H.R. Giger Official Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walther_PPK - Walther semiautomatic pistol information
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